What is a suprapubic catheter? It is one of the two kinds of urinary catheters used to drain urine directly from the bladder into a drainage bag outside the body. The other kind – the more common one – is a urethral catheter, which (as it sounds) goes up through the urethra into the bladder.
Why would anyone need a suprapubic catheter? Basically you need one if the medical pros can’t put in a urethral cath for some reason. In my case it was due to a blockage in my urethra called a urethral stricture (more on what THAT is in another post here).
The docs had thought I had an enlarged prostate because I was having trouble urinating. So the day I woke up (on a weekend of course!) and couldn’t pee at all, I went into the emergency room expecting them to put a urethral catheter in until my appointment with urology the following week. I’m a guy and knew that they were going to try to stick a rubber tube up my willy (for lack of a more descriptive term:)). And so they tried.
But in the end, the stricture made it impossible to pass a tube through the urethra. So the next alternative, which is more invasive, is to poke a hole through your abdominal wall below you belly button and into your bladder, and to thread the tube into you that way. Thank goodness I had some little bit of sedation for that, because in the end, the insertion of the suprapubic catheter was much less painful than the attempts to get the urethral cath into me.
So now I have a flexible tube sticking out of my abdomen instead of coming out the end of my willy. I think that all things considered, I’d rather have the SP cath than the other kind anyway. This tube connects to two different types of drainage bag, depending on what I’m doing. The leg bag straps to my lower leg and allows me to wear long pants and go out into the world like a normal person. The bedside drainage bag has a much longer and tougher tube and allows me to sleep while the bag lay on the floor.
So that is what a suprapubic catheter is – a tube stuck through your abdominal wall and into your bladder.
Here is a video showing some diagrams of an SP catheter and giving some instructions for caring for one.
For more information on living with an SP cath, check out: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000145.htm
Below is an example of an anti-flux (pee wont flow back from the bag) bedside drainage bag. Click the picture to purchase or for more info on it.
Curity Dover Anti-Reflux Drainage Bag 2,000 mL