What is a catheter valve? A guide to using a catheter valve and how to manage it effectively

So, you’ve been given a catheter and sent home with drainage bags to use but you’re finding them bulky or hard to manage with an active lifestyle. Other continence product users or your continence nurse may have mentioned about catheter valves to you, but what actually is a catheter valve? In this blog we’ll explore more about what a catheter valve is, their benefits and how to manage one effectively.

A catheter valve is a small device which fits directly on to the end of an indwelling catheter and acts like a tap or switch to let urine out. Catheter valves can be used on both urethral and suprapubic catheters but will need to be regularly changed every 5-7 days.

image showing how a catheter valve worksIf you are currently using a ‘lever’ tap option on your drainage bag, then a catheter valve works in the same manner, just without the bag filling in between. Catheter valves are used instead of drainage bags to stop the urine from flowing out until the tap is ‘switched’, so your bladder stores the urine instead of a bag.  It’s important to remember that a catheter valve isn’t suitable for all catheter users, so speak with your doctor or continence nurse to check whether a catheter valve is suitable for you before trialling one.

The small, discreet design of catheter valves means they have a number of benefits when it comes to comfort and dignity for the user. Using a catheter valve means there is a reduced risk of trauma to your bladder and urinary system as there is no weight from carrying a drainage bag or tubes pulling down on the catheter. Use of a catheter valve can also help you keep your body’s natural rhythm with urinating and maintains your bladder’s muscle tone and capacity as the bladder is still in use and not made redundant by the use of a drainage bag.

Many users find catheter valves very simple to use and self-manage. If you have bladder sensation then your bladder will tell you when it is getting full and when it is time to turn the lever on your catheter valve and empty your bladder. However, if you experience problems with bladder sensation or you have a reduced bladder capacity then you may not be the ideal candidate to use a catheter valve, so consult with your doctor or continence nurse ahead of trialling one. Other implications such as poor hand dexterity which results in you being unable to open the lever on the catheter valve properly, or if you have very poor memory which means you are unable to remember to empty your bladder regularly may also mean that a catheter valve is not the best solution for you. Speak to your doctor or continence nurse as there may be other solutions which can help.

Try our Ugo Catheter Valve

Featuring a safety lever to prevent accidental opening and leaks, our Ugo Catheter Valve has been designed to ensure the user feels comfortable and confident whilst wearing it.

Available as a box of 5, you can use each Ugo Catheter Valve for up to 7 days thanks to its durable, high-grade medical PVC components. The sleek, discreet design of our Ugo Catheter Valve has also been ergonomically shaped to ensure no sharp edges for ease of handing and reduced risk of skin trauma.

Where can I get it? Click here to find out more about the Ugo Catheter Valve and request your free sample by filling out the form on the product page.