Are you about to start with Intermittent Catheterization? Some of you might feel a little uneasy about it, but don't worry! The majority of people find the process simple and straightforward as soon as they have tried it a few times and found - it doesn´t hurt, and has the potential for a whole new quality of life.
Each person has their own unique condition and there is no single method on the best way on how to learn to perform Intermittent Catheterization (IC), but there are some common tips and tricks.
Men may have difficulties inserting the catheter through tense sphincter muscles or past the prostate.
Tips: Try to relax, take some deep breaths and give a slight cough when you insert the catheter. You can also try to twist the catheter a little bit to get through.
There are also catheters with a tapered tip, that could simplify the insertion. Training is the key to success!
Finding the right entering point
Women may have difficulties finding the urethra – it’s simply hard to identify it from above. Sometimes your body shape presents some extra difficulties as well – like if you're pregnant or heavily overweight.
Tips: Ask your nurse or trainer to show you until you feel comfortable. They could also suggest assistance aids, like a mirror, a handle or a leg spread, to simplify the procedure.
Catheters that are used with gel or other lubricant are slippery during insertion but might lose its slipperiness on the way out. If you are in the beginning of using catheters or have a limited hand function, it could be a bit time consuming to empty your bladder, and there is a risk that the catheter dries out before it is time to remove it.
Tips: Ask for a hydrophilic catheter that is slippery both on insertion and withdrawal. Try to relax. Coughing, or rotating the catheter, may help.
Emptying the bladder away from home
Some feel uncomfortable emptying the bladder at a friend’s house or public bathroom. You simply don’t want everyone to know what happens in the bathroom.
Tips: Use a catheter that allows you to fold it to a more discreet size. Always bring a small plastic bag to store the used catheter if you don’t want to throw it away in a public bin or at a friend's house. There are also catheters with a package design that allows you to put the catheter back, to be able to bring the used catheter with you and throw it away once you're back home.
You will soon be a real professional in catheterization, and then the time spent in the bathroom will no longer be an issue.
Limited hand function
If you have limited hand function it might be difficult to manage the catheter.
Tips: Ask for a catheter that is easy to handle. A hydrophilic catheter activates with water, and so called wet catheters come with water in the package, so you don't need to add gel or another lubricant.
Some brands have smart package features like adhesive tape for hanging, or assistance aids to offer. Ask your nurse or trainer for advice, or download our guides to learn more about catheterization for women and for men.
Remember to always make sure you get proper training from a healthcare professional and read the Instructions For Use (IFU) that follows with the product carefully before starting the procedure.