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Problem with catheter

Posted 21 Feb 2021 at 12:41

Following my radio therapy treatment at the end of December 2020, I had a problem with water retention, necessitating the fitting of a “temporary “ catheter. There have been several problems with the catheter, but the latest one baffles me.  If I attach a bag, my flow is fine, but if I just use the catheter valve which was working fine before, I now “bypass” and the urine leaks from my penis. Any similar experiences?  

Posted 21 Feb 2021 at 14:47

Hi Dave,

I have no experience of this and as you've perhaps worked out yourself the pressure from the bladder is forcing urine through when you block the catheter.   I haven't heard of anyone having a tap on a catheter, although it sounds a good idea.   If it was that simple though I wonder if people would have operations to fit taps onto their bladder, fit clamps or carry round bags permanently.

Is it a matter of drinking less or slower?

It sounds like perhaps your retention problem has gone away and if the catheter is removed it might be alright.  I say might, I know very little about it although incontinence issues often clear up with time.


Posted 21 Feb 2021 at 15:35


I have a flipflo and bag on an suprapubic catheter, the tap is now normally open. When I open after being closed it still drains straight away. I belong to a Catheter site and often see the issue you describe. Some of our engineer members came up with some interesting theories. 

I suspect it is to do the position of the balloon and outlets. On free drainage the urine will just seep through the outlets. With the flipflo closed the pressure may cause the balloon and outlets to be squashed against the bladder wall. As the pressure builds it will go out through the penis. I can bypass and drain at the same time. 

Thanks Chris


Posted 21 Feb 2021 at 16:55

Is it not just basic physics? The bag creates a vacuum or enclosed circulation which sort of sucks the urine out of the bladder like a straw whereas when the bag is removed, the cycle is broken?

Put milk in a baby's bottle and screw the teat on. Unless the milk is hot, it stays in the bottle even when the bottle is turned upside down, or at least it just drips slowly. Clamp a baby's mouth round it and the milk will flow - when they open their mouth and stop sucking, the milk stops. In other words, the vacuum effect of the catheter bag is like sucking the teat?

Edited by member 21 Feb 2021 at 20:41  | Reason: Not specified

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

Posted 21 Feb 2021 at 17:15

I think I am understanding what you are saying but let's clarify it. 

You have a catheter in place. If you attach a bag and have the flip flow either detached or open then there is no leakage. 

If you attach a flip flow and close it then you get leakage from the penis. 

If I am correct in my assumptions then, yes I am not too surprised. I also had a catheter and a flipflow valve and I got leakage if the tap was closed for a long time. Quite simply it is normal pressure in the bladder. The bladder sphincter would normally stop this, but now that muscle is having to close around a plastic pipe and there will be a little leakage, indeed a lot of leakage if your bladder is full and you squeeze hard.

I still think flipflow is a good idea, but just go to the toilet as frequently as you normally would. 


Posted 21 Feb 2021 at 20:40
Ah, I read it differently - that if he removes the bag but leaves the valve open so that he can empty his bladder directly into the toilet, he doesn't have any flow. Ignore the baby milk analogy! 🤣
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

Posted 22 Feb 2021 at 00:35

Thanks for all your input. It seems that I will have to put up with the bypassing whilst training my bladder to operate normally . I would add that this the first time that I’ve contributed to any forum, and I am encouraged to find that my experience is shared and understood by so many.

Posted 22 Feb 2021 at 11:25

Hi Dave,

I have had a flip/flow catheter fitted about 3 times, it does leak from the penis, I was very pleased to have it removed, however it was then back to Kegal exercises to get control  over leaking urine, Tena pads helped.

Best wishes


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