This sponsored post was written in collaboration with Aeroflow Healthcare, a premier provider of durable medical equipment. Pain Resource and Aeroflow are both a part of the Chronic Illness Network.
A suprapubic catheter is designed to allow you to live an active lifestyle while alleviating prior issues that you had when trying to go to the bathroom. For this post, we’ve teamed up with Aeroflow Healthcare to talk about their catheters and real user experiences swimming with their own catheters. With your catheter, you should still be able to do things like drive, go to work, exercise and yes, even swim.
Swimming can be a therapeutic form of exercise that you can still enjoy when you have a catheter. In fact, some users report that swimming helps to relieve their bladder spasms.
“My bladder spasms were awful, and the swimming helped them a lot,” said Vicki Palmer, an ex-catheter user and Chronic Illness Blogger Network member who offered to share some tips with our readers.
What’s a Suprapubic Catheter?
If you’re new to having a suprapubic catheter, here’s what to expect. Your doctor will place a tube into your bladder through an incision in your abdominal area. Your urine will flow through the tube into a bag that’s kept outside of your body. A good example is the Hollister sterile urinary leg bag from Aeroflow, which can be placed on your calf or thigh.
Additionally, a Flip-Flo is a more discreet alternative to using a urinary drainage bag. It’s a device that fits onto the end of a urethral or suprapubic catheter. When you use a Flip-Flo, your bladder stores the urine in your body, which can then be released intermittently by releasing the Flip-Flo. This is an option whether your catheter is permanent or temporary.
“I have always loved swimming,” said Rachel Jury, a Chronic Illness Blogger Network community member and ex-catheter user. “Being in the pool, I feel at one with the water and am truly happy. When I had my urethral and suprapubic catheter, I felt it was important to still try and go swimming. Sometimes I put a Flip-Flo valve on, and sometimes I went in with my leg bag on my calf,” she said.
The Flip-Flo, however, isn’t for everyone. The good news is that you can swim wither you use a urinary drainage bag for a Flip-Flo.
“I have only been swimming a couple of times, but each time was enjoyable,” said Jen Hall, blogger for Water Works – Life with a Long Term Catheter. “The first time I was incredibly nervous,” she admits. “I find it hard to tolerate the Flip-Flo valve, so I spoke to the pool staff and they were fine with me using my leg bag once I had explained it all.”
Not only did she swim, Jen felt empowered after having a positive experience wearing her catheter at the pool. “There were a couple of people that had a quick glance, but it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be, and it was actually very liberating knowing that actually, nobody really cared. This led to having the confidence to wear a dress to work on a particularly sunny way with sheer tights.”
Living with a catheter does not mean you have to give up doing the things that you love, like swimming or wearing a dress. Rather, it’s an opportunity to find confidence in fully being your true self, and not caring what others think.
Tips for Swimming with a Catheter
- If you’re uncomfortable with the Flip-Flo valve, swim with the bag, and use a bag cover if you feel a little self-conscious about others seeing the bag.
- If you’ll be swimming in a public pool with a urinary bag, speak with the pool staff beforehand so you feel more comfortable going in.
- Be sure to clean the area thoroughly before and after swimming, and replace the old bag with a new dry one if you wore your bag into the pool.
- Consider using a StatLock on your stomach to keep the tube in place.
- Wear a pair of shorts and tuck the tubes into the waistline.
Why Choose Aeroflow as your Catheter Supplier?
- They deliver supplies right to your doorstep
- They send you monthly reorder reminders
- They allow you to claim your purchase through your insurance provider
- They have dedicated customer support representatives
If you use a catheter and have additional tips to share with our readers, we’d love to hear from you. Please comment below to share your experience.