How To Take a Shower With a Catheter


I have been taking a shower with my catheter since February. Here is how it works. I wash off with Body Wash at the sink. Then, I use two small hand fills of water to wet my hair and use a small amount of shampoo, rubbing it thru my hair. Next, I take a heavy and CLEAN towel, folded it into fours, so there are four layers between the water and the catheter. Now, I am ready for the shower. I turn on the water and I gently step into the shower tub, be careful in case the tub is a little wet, making sure the catheter is covered. I can rinse my entire body except for the catheter. You can rinse your neck and head, just make sure the catheter is covered with the clean towel, rinse slowly. Do not worry if the tape off of the catheter gets wet, it will not cause an infection. Now, when you are done, use a mask and gloves to change the catheter, DO NOT change your catheter without gloves, mask, and clean hands. When in the shower, move the bottom part of the catheter that is flexible and rinse, making sure the bottom part does not get wet. Water=GERMS. When you come out of the shower, have a clean, handy towel to wipe off your hair, so the water does not get into the catheter. When done drying the hair, remove the heavy towel away from the catheter, making sure there is not a threat of water going into the catheter. When cleaning with water with the neck, head, and hair, press hard on the towel where the main part of the catheter happens to be, so the water has nowhere to go except away from the catheter.


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I had a catheter once and didn’t find too bad in the shower I just set the temp to little cooler then normal and stood back and washed section at a time. Seem too work not bad but now I got a fistula so don’t worry about it but showing with a catheter wasn’t that bad you just have too be more careful thats all.


As an RN working in the hospital, I had to shower many patients with many different types of catheters, wounds, incisions, etc…We used a product named shower shield and I just found it today at Wal Mart. It is very affordable and looks just like the product we used in-patient. I used it the other day to cover a ‘strawberry’ my son got while playint t-ball. In the hospital we used it mostly for central lines and periphereal IV’s and stuff like that.


Outstanding, Doug, what a great idea. I have posted it on the dialysis boards.


There are a few products that are specifically designed for this. My aunt was a dialysis nurse for years and helped design an affordable ($5/each), disposable, waterproof bandage designed specifically for dialysis patients. Unlike a lot of the other waterproof bandages that are out there this is built specifically to accomodate a catheter and allow full body showering while keeping water away from the entry site. It can be seen and ordered through this site if anyone is interested

Let me know if anyone has any thoughts on whether this would do the job. Really interested in feedback!


I live in south west of America. And my aunt is a serious patient of dialysis. She is suffering it from past two to three years. Is there any way to get rid of it.Please share some information.


If someone has a sudden kidney injury, kidney function may return after a short time of doing dialysis. However, in most cases when kidney damage has occurred over time (chronic kidney disease), dialysis or a transplant are required to keep the person alive. If your aunt is healthy enough, she may want to talk with staff from a transplant program to learn more and seek evaluation. Transplant is not a cure, but another treatment for kidney failure. Some people choose not to treat kidney failure or to stop treatment. Without treatment, kidney failure will lead to death.


I use the shield sold by You still have to be careful, but you can take showers with and keep the cath dry. I had a problem with mine (the seal started to come unglued form the waterproof fabric) and the supplier was absolutely fantastic getting a replacement out immediately.


It’s great to hear that the Korshield folks have good customer service, AlbertDog. Thanks so much for sharing that. :slight_smile:


Glad I found this thread! I have a “home made” solution. I use a sandwich bag cut to about 3" X 7". I then line it with Johnson & Johnson water proof tape. I overlap each section of tape and use about three strips of tape on all sides but the bottom. On the bottom I use a couple of strips. I do not take direct shower hits with this and bend over when washing my hair to be sure the water does not roll down my chest. Occasionally it will leak but usually no further than the tape on the catheter patch. The actual pad has gotten damp a couple of times in 6 months. When that happens I use a hair dryer with no heat to quickly dry out the area. I also do this immediately before heading to the dialysis clinic where my catheter patch is changed with each treatment – just in case.

It works. If anyone want me to post a picture just let me know. I’ll be happy to do so.


The risk of infection with a central venous catheter is high especially if you take showers. I know people who have used different approaches to keep water from showers from getting their catheter dressing and thus the skin under the dressing wet. Although these may work, but all it takes is a big enough leak to let bacteria in where the catheter enters the skin and you could get a serious blood infection. Some people may not realize that the tip of the catheter is in one of the large veins of the heart which makes it easy for bacteria to get pushed around all over the body.

I hope you’re scheduled to get a permanent access (fistula or graft) soon. If so, you’ll be able to shower without having to go through such a hassle and you could swim for exercise.


Hi Beth,

Thanks for the info. I am very aware of the infection issue. I went on dialysis with an AKI DX in February. Everyone expected my kidneys to return – and they still may. But, it has been seven months and while there are small signs there is no big move to indicated function will return. I put off permanent access too long in hopes this whole mess would go away. But, it looks like it is here to stay. I am scheduled for operation #1 for my fistula at the end of the month. Due to the position there will need to be a second operation for transposition which I assume will follow in four or five weeks. I guess I’m still at least 90 days out from using it.

I take very good care not to expose the catheter to undue risk and, of course, the dressing is removed and cleaned at each clinic treatment (3 times a week). I have had the catheter replaced twice due to low throughput. This one has been in since June and has given me only one or two problems with throughput. I run at 350 at almost every session. Other than that – so far so good.

Thanks again.


I knew patients who didn’t have the best flow with a catheter and some had to be in a certain position in the dialysis chair or their machine would alarm. it would be great if your kidney function would improve, but in the meantime, it’s good that you’ve scheduled surgery scheduled soon. It sounds like you must have had vessel mapping done to find the best place to put the access. Good luck with your surgery. In the meantime, have you received education about other types of dialysis and kidney transplant? It’s good to know your options and have choices.


Beth, I am on my third catheter since February. The current one has been in since mid June and still works quite well. The flow rate is 350, which I understand is good for a catheter.

Regarding the fistula, I have been mapped and it will be on the upper arm. This will require two operations, I understand. One to join the vessels and the other to “transposition” the vessel for access. I understand the second operation is a little more difficult and involved.

Regarding other options, I’m not sure I have many with what is available now. I was diagnosed with Lymphoma at the same time as my kidney issue (2/14). I was treated for that condition and am in complete remission. I am also 70. So, I’m not so sure I could find a center that would allow me a transplant with these conditions. I understand most centers require you to be disease free for five years. Well, by that time I’m 75, so I am most likely up against an age limit. So, my kidneys are about my only option – if there is a way for them to work again.

Thanks for your input.


thank you for sharing this.I too will recommend shower shield


It will be a tedious task, you have to wash one by one. As mentioned above there are some products designed to serve the purpose. Thanks for asking …


I was understanding that you could still swim with a Dialysis Cath…as long as it was not in a river or lake…why cant you shower normally with one ?


This thread was started a number of years ago and there are products now that allow people to shower with a HD catheter. Here’s information from the National Kidney Foundation about caring for HD accesses that includes information about showering. You should talk with your home training nurse or physician about swimming if you have a HD catheter.

If you have a PD catheter, showers are OK. This link has a Q&A about swimming with a PD catheter.


I have been showering by covering my catheter site with a 4x4 opsite or tegaderm that I purchase on ebay. Then after shower I put mask and be sure have clean hands and do my catheter site dressing.