Treatments and tests

Your suprapubic catheter

Your catheter is a hollow tube that has been inserted through your lower abdomen into your bladder to drain it of urine.

This is known as suprapubic catheterisation.

The catheter will not fall out because it is held in place by a small balloon which is inflated with sterile water after the catheter is inserted into the bladder (see Figure 1).

Diagram of cross-section of female with a catheter inserted through the abdomen

The first catheter change will be done 6 weeks after it has been inserted.

This will happen in the hospital outpatient department in case any problems occur.

After the first change, future catheter changes can then be done by your:

  • doctor
  • community nurse
  • hostel or nursing home.

Most catheters may be left in place for several weeks.

The length of time can vary under different circumstances and your doctor or nurse will decide when the catheter should be changed.

The catheter should be comfortable to wear and should not pull.

Your nurse will show you how to correctly position the catheter to help make it comfortable.

Sexual activity

Sexual activity may continue with a suprapubic catheter in place.

Water based lubricants can be used to assist with sexual intercourse. Other lubricants may damage the catheter.

Where to get help


Royal Perth Hospital

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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