Insights: Self-Catheterization

Insights: Self-Catheterization

A urinary catheter is a tube that is able to bend at ease. It drains urine from your bladder. Intermittent self-catheterization is used to treat bladders that do not drain fully. Some people need a urinary catheter because they have urine leakage (incontinence), are not able to urinate at all, or only partially (urinary retention) or had surgery that made it necessary.

The main goals of self-catheterization, are:

  • Draining your bladder regularly.
  • Staying dry.
  • Avoiding over-swelling of the bladder.

If you need to use a urinary catheter at home, your health care provider will show you how to use it the right way. What men need to do will be different from what women need to do because of their anatomy. There are different types and sizes of urinary catheters, and your health care provider will write a prescription to make sure that you get the right catheter for your needs.

Catheter-related supplies may include towelettes to wipe yourself and water-based lubricants like K-Y Jelly, to make putting in a catheter simpler.

When your catheter is in place, urine will drain through your catheter into the toilet or a special holder. It's important to ask your health care provider how often you should empty your bladder.For many people, this will be every 4 to 6 hours.

It is important to always wash your hands before and after placing your urinary catheter. Avoid reusing catheters and if you're using a holder to collect urine, drain it into the toilet and always close the toilet lid before flushing to stop germs from spreading.

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