National Continence Helpline

8am - 8pm Monday to Friday AEST Talk to a continence nurse

Catheter is pulling out

Get help from a health care professional, or talk to your supervisor or care coordinator if the catheter has come out.


If a person's catheter has come out, they may not be able to pass urine at all. You must get help straight away.

What should you do if the catheter is coming out?

A catheter should be held firmly in place using a catheter strap, known as a cath strap, or an adhesive device. Check their continence care plan to see how the catheter is meant to be held in place. You need to know what type of catheter strap or adhesive device is being used to hold the catheter and how it works.

A pulling catheter can cause damage to the delicate skin around the genitals and inside the urethra. If you're not sure about something, ask for help from a continence nurse advisor or other health care professional.

If there is a strap or adhesive device on the upper leg

To stop the catheter from pulling out, check that:

  • the right strap is being used
  • the person hasn't taken the strap off or moved its position
  • the catheter tube hasn't caught on clothing or bedding
  • the strap is placed so the catheter is not pulled tight. You may need to loosen and move the strap higher up on the leg or, for a adhesive device, replace with a new one.

Click here for a video demonstrating how to attach a catheter strap.

Click here for a video demonstrating how to attach an adhesive device.

If there is no strap or adhesive device on the upper leg

When there is no catheter strap or adhesive device, you should check:

  • the care plan - it may need review by a continence nurse advisor
  • if the person has removed the strap - if they have, you need to reattach it
  • if the strap has been lost or come off - if it has, you need to get a new one.

Need more help? Call the National Continence Helpline on 18OO 33 OO 66 and talk to a continence nurse advisor.

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This information is not a substitute for independent professional advice.