will suprapubic catheter reduce UTIs?


I’m posting on behalf of my mother, who was fitted with an indwelling catheter about 3 months ago, following a very nasty uti which led to sepsis. We were told this was caused by her not emptying her bladder sufficiently. She uses a wheelchair and doesn’t have the dexterity in her hands to self catheterise, so an indwelling catheter was fitted. This has presented its own problems as since getting the catheter she has been admitted to intensive care twice, with sepsis from utis.

Obviously I am very worried about her utis, and am wondering if she opts for a suprapubic catheter will this be likely to reduce the amount of UTIs she gets?

Also, for anyone who may also get regular utis can I ask how these are treated by your GP? Currently, on suspicion of a uti we bring a sample of her urine in to the doctors surgery, and he sends it away for analysis while we wait for the results. By the time the infection is confirmed and the antibiotics given, i suspect we are too late and the infection has taken hold.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and apologies if its a bit long winded!. I would be very grateful for any advice at all.

Thank you.

my dad was changed to a supra pubic catheter several years ago, he found that he got fewer UTI’s afterwards, sorry, i don’t know how the different plumbing works out. when i had a UTI myself, i took a urine sample to my gp, she took one look at it (cloudy) and dip tested it on the spot, confirmed that i needed antibiotics and put me on a 3 day course on the spot, this had a positive effect within a day. i can’t imagine what your mum’s gp is thinking when it seems like such a simple test?!

best of luck to you both,

wendy x

I (and my mother) are patients at a specialised LUTS (Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms ) unit. The cornerstone of their treatment (which is quite ‘cutting-edge’ ) is long-term antibiotic which upsets some GPs I think,as they aren’t so familiar with the work there… At the unit they test for UTIs under a microscope which is much more thorough. I think that indwelling catheters are more likely to produce infections, but will have to refresh my memory…


I self catheterise and used to get UTIs frequently. I’m now on preventative antibiotics, I use 4 different ones and have to rotate them every 3 months so I don’t build up resistance. I’ve only had one in the 10 months I’ve been doing this and it was soon caught. We simple changed the antibiotic since the pesky infection managed to sneak through!

I bought some of the testing strips from Amazon so am able to test it myself. This means if I do get an infection I’m picking it up early so it doesn’t get a hold. I ended up in hospital for almost a week with my first infection and I don’t want that to happen again! I then take a sample in to the doctors who then send it away for further testing and to see which antibiotic will be effective.

Sarah x

l have had a Supra Pubic Catheter for about 20yrs. Rarely, get a UTI. l do take D-Mannose and also apple cider vinegar and honey in water to drink daily. This ‘alkalises’ the urine and restores the ph level keeping the bladder healthier. And of course l do drink plenty of water. lf l thought l was having a uti - l do have the ‘dip sticks’ to see if there is protein in the urine. My GP allows me a prescription for ‘just in case’ as if caught soon enough 3days will knock it on the head.

With a SPC there is less handling and of course less chance of a uti - The catheter is left in place for 4-6 weeks. l am about to try the Duette Catheters - these have two balloons - one at the tip to prevent any damage to the bladder wall. Look at them on youtube - you will see the damage that can be done with the usual ‘foley’ catheters - whose design has been the same for 50yrs. They are still not available in UK - they have the FDA approval in US - where they are manufactured. l have a friend who lives near them in Florida - and she was able to get me some to try.

Hi, I had an indwelling catheter some years ago, for 5 months. I hated the damned thing it was so uncomfortable and sometimes painful to sit and had to lie down for comfort. I didnt get any utis though.

I had an spc fitted about 18 months ago. It is much more comfortable and I even forget i have it at times! You do need to drink lots of water to keep your urine clear and free of debris. I take cranberry tablets daily too. No utis…fingers crossed!


Thanks everyone for taking the time out to share your experiences, I really appreciate it and its given me lots to consider! I do think that on balance the suprapubic catheter seems to be the way to go, and hopefully it will be a success in reducing her rate of UTIs …will also be taking on board your advice re the antibiotic cover and the supplements. I hadn’t heard of D Mannose before, spacejacket, could you tell me how much you take daily? Ive just read it appears naturally in apples, though perhaps you’d need to eat an awful lot of apples to get your daily dose!! Thanks everyone

Just wondering if you are delivering the sample at reception without getting an appointment. I would think it standard practice for the doc to test it with a strip if you gave it to him/her before sending it off and they would probably give antibiotics for a positive result but it may of course be a false negative result that needs to be verified by more sensitive lab tests. As somebody else said, one reason for lab testing is also to identify which antibiotic is effective, so having started on an antibiotic, the surgery may ring back to get you to change it if the test suggests it necessary.

Yes, we are just delivering the sample to reception. On the last occasion, it was tested with a strip by the doc on a friday and he said it showed no infection, yet by sunday we had to call an ambulance which resulted in my mother spending 5 weeks in hospital, 2 of which were in intensive care! So it seems the strip test gave a false negative result. Thankfully, that infection has now finally cleared although it has weakened her greatly so I am eager to avoid it happening again! I do think that forums like these are invaluable, as although the professionals can give us all the theory, there is nothing to compare with the support and experience of others who are on the same path, so to speak!

Thank you for your reply mrbobowen.