Drainage Bags

A drainage bag collects urine from a catheter or penile sheath. Normally there is a tube which connects the catheter or sheath to the drainage bag. With a catheter everything should be sterile.

Drainage bags come in different sizes and can be worn on the leg i.e. thigh/calf or on the belly for suprapubic catheters.

Drainage bags can hold between a quarter pint and two pints of liquid, depending on the size of the bag. It should be emptied regularly and should not get too full.

Leg bags can be worn with straps or supported in a special garment or holster, or in a pocket sewn into your normal clothing. Belly bags which are used for suprapubic catheters, fasten around the waist generally by a woven belt or similar. The bag will contain the urine until it is emptied – a tap at the bottom of the bag lets out the urine. “The closed system” leg bags should be sterile and changed weekly.

At night the leg bag is attached to a night bag, the outlet tap of the leg bag can be opened and the urine flows into the drainage bag – this can hold up to 3 pints, so you do not have to worry about waking up to empty it.

The night drainage bag should be held on a night bag stand so that it is kept off the ground. It should also be positioned to let the urine flow down to the night bag. Night bags are disposed of on a daily basis in the morning.

Penile sheath systems do not require sterility, leg bags are changed weekly and so can night bags as they can have a tap & can be drained, washed through every morning and left to drain in the bath or shower to be reused.

Please see our additional resources for more information on attaching or disconnecting a drainage bag. 

The nurse who carried out the catheterisation should ensure that all the correct equipment is prescribed so that extra stock is not needed, except for repeat prescriptions when stock runs low.

As with all products, try different drainage bags until you find one which suits you. 

If you have a catheter and need support, you can book a FREE catheter review, available over the phone by visiting our Catheter Nurse Service section, or calling 0800 031 5406.