Can I go swimming with a catheter?

Do you like a nice, refreshing swim on a hot summer day? Then you might wonder if that’s still on the cards for you if you’re living with an indwelling urinary catheter. And the short answer to this question is yes, you can absolutely still go swimming with your indwelling catheter. But let’s look at it in a bit more detail.

Neither a urethral nor a suprapubic urinary catheter should prevent you from going for a dip. If you’re living with a suprapubic catheter, just make sure to wait until the small incision on your abdomen has fully healed before attempting your first swim. Generally, we would strongly recommend that you speak to a healthcare professional before entering the water. This is just to be 100% certain that you can go ahead without increasing your risk of infection.

You might even be able to swap your catheter leg bag for a catheter valve which can be a more discreet and comfortable option for you. It’s super important that you don’t just go ahead and attempt to use one, though! Always make sure to speak to a healthcare professional before. Why? As with everything, a catheter valve isn’t right for everybody, and you’ll need a certain level of bladder tone and capacity to be able to use one. If your nurse or doctor determine that a catheter valve isn’t for you and you’re going swimming with your catheter leg bag, it’s a good idea to empty it before you’re entering the water. 

Our nurses’ top tips for going swimming with an indwelling urinary catheter
  • Always check that the skin around your catheter looks healthy. If you can find any wounds or signs of infection, it’s best to postpone your swim until it’s all healed again.

  • Always make sure that your catheter, the catheter tubing, and your leg bag or catheter valve are properly secured in place.

  • If you feel uncomfortable getting changed make use of the changing room for disabled people.

  • Before diving in, make sure the water is clean.

  • After your dip, always clean and dry the entry site of your catheter to reduce any risk of infection.