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Thread: Cathiter Use?

  1. #1

    Default Cathiter Use?

    Hello, I have been thinking of Cathiter use, not for everyday use but just here and there and as a cheaper way of dealing with incontinence.

    My question is, does it hurt? Like you are inserting a tube into your urethra but how much does it hurt? How noticable is it after its inserted?

  2. #2


    I use intermittent catheters and it doesn't hurt at all - but then, my problem with incontnence is that I've got no feeling down there at all, so I don't feel it. It definitely helps with using less nappies though. I use caths about 3 or 4 times a day.

  3. #3


    I had to catheterize myself for about a month following back surgery. It was a little unpleasant, but in a short time, one learns to do it without causing any pain. I was taught the procedure in the hospital and it does have its risks. One can get an infection if sterile procedures aren't followed. It's not something I would do unless I had a medical need for it.

  4. #4


    If you want to save money then DON'T use a catheter!!! Done right by someone who is medically trained under sterile conditions and monitored daily by a trained professional then no problem. They are uncomfortable, they catch on everything and "That" hurts, and the infections you are apt to get can damage your bladder and your kidneys to the point that it's life threatening.
    If you want to save on the cost of diapers the switch to Flat Cloth Diapers (pin on style) and Plastic Pants. Stay away from the Velcro style copies of the paper diapers... They're just as bad as the paper diapers and the cost of them is outrageous!!! Total cost for a 5 year supply is about $100.00 and the hardest part will be finding someone to show you how to fold them properly so they fit and don't leak. You can buy diaper cloth at any fabric store for a dollar or two a running yard. You can Google the plastic pants.

  5. #5


    In the UK, catheters can't (legally) be purchased by members of the public without a prescription signed by a doctor. This is because you can't get them unless you have genuine need, and have been properly trained. It's dangerous to use them without training; you might tear the urethra or damage the sphincter muscle if you don't do it properly.* That said, once you know what you're doing, intermittent catheterisation is pretty easy. The cath does not remain in place, you use it once and throw it away, thus minimising the chance of infections.

    A day's supply of intermittent catheters costs more than a day's supply of nappies. But I get mine free from the NHS. I only get 4 caths a day which isn't really enough and I still leak inbetween times. And sometimes when I'm out there's no safe clean place for me to do it so I have to skip it sometimes.

    * There was a story in my local newspaper a few months ago about a nurse who visited an old man in his home to change his catheter, she did it wrong and he bled to death.

  6. #6


    it will depend upon what you want to use it for and what type of catheter you are going to use. However, first up i will point out that a catheter is not actually a recommended course of management/treatment for incontinence (reason being is that they want to try and solve the issue before using a catheter which will never solve the problem). that being said, there are some occasions where it is acceptable to use.

    Back to where i was going, for starters, there are a couple of different catheters that you can choose from and as have kind of been mentioned (but not using the right names for) there are intermittent catheters and foley catheters. The intermittent catheters have been described well enough above in that they are used as a once only thing and are then removed. This is because as soon as you let go of it, it will pretty much start coming out. These catheters are not designed to be used long term at all and are really only used if people have problems with urinary retention (as it allows the bladder to be relieved and the catheter can then be removed).

    The other type of catheter is a foley catheter. This is significantly different to an intermittent catheter with the main difference is that this catheter is meant for longer term use. That being said, it obviously does need to be changed from time to time. The other main difference with this catheter is that it has a balloon on the end that (once inside the bladder) is inflated so that you cant pull the catheter back out (well ... supposedly you can but it will be extremely painful and you would end up in hospital needing surgery to repair the damage if you tried to pull it our without deflating the balloon). Now when i say a balloon, i dont mean a huge balloon. The balloon here holds about 5 - 10 mL of water (and yes, you do need to use water to inflate the balloon ... not a saline solution otherwise there will be all sorts of problems) and compared to the usual capacity of the bladder, is actually quite minuscule (i.e. the ballon is not going to inflate to the point where you will be able to burst your bladder open)

    Regardless of which one you pick, they dont really require a lot of skill to be able to put in (i learnt how to put one in in half an hour as part of my medical training) and all you really need to learn is a little bit of anatomy, the do's and donts as well as the things that can go wrong and the correct technique. If you have someone who is qualified teach you, then it wont be an issue to learn how to do it properly.

    The other thing that people havent talked about is the size of catheter to use. It is this that will determine if it causes you pain or not. Basically, the diameter of the catheter is measure according to a specific gauge. We have some generalisations as to what gauge to use for what gender. And in general, men will get a 14-18F and women will get a 10-14F. The reason for the difference in sizing between the sexes is that the larger diameter means that the catheter is a bit stiffer and this helps to push it past the prostate in males (whereas women dont have that problem).

    Also, i do want to point out that people say that catheters are such a bad thing and that you need to be super careful to be extremely sterile. This is true ... to a degree. Yes, i would definitely want to put a catheter in and do it ensuring i dont contaminate anything. But realistically, the foley catheters end up being covered in bacteria after about a day/a day and a half and that is even when a catheter bag is connected to it immediately after it has been put in (i.e. meaning that it hasnt been left open or been contaminated by anything). This doesnt mean that im saying you shouldnt catheterise yourself without washing your hands and using sterile gloves (and appropiate precautions) but it is just a fact that people seem to get so antsy about but dont realise that it ends up covered in bacteria regardless of if you follow everything properly. The main thing is to ensure that it stays as clean as it can be (hence why if it is going to be a longer term thing they often put in a catheter that allows them to flush the bladder and catheter out with sterile water (i.e. the catheter has one port for urine to drain out of, one port to inflate the balloon and another port that allows fluids to flow into the bladder) so as to ensure that the catheter flow is maintained and that it is relatively clean.

    Oh, and i did forget to add on the end that often, the medical professionals use a jelly that numbs the sensation as they are putting a catheter in (this is generally for foley catheters as intermittent catheters are not as thick and therefore people dont feel them as much), although, they do say that we dont necessirally NEED to use it (we are told to use it because it makes inserting it more comfortable for the person).

  7. #7


    Catheters can cause infection and even lead to kidney failure: The needless indignity that's leaving patients like Emma in agony | Mail Online

    some years ago, i stole some foleys from a place where i worked. i ummed and ahhed over what size to get for a bit and then settled on the child sized ones (and i wish that a certain doctor had considered to the same effect for when he tried to insert a cannula into me. his apology of, "sorry, i should've used a smaller one" wasn't as nice as his having seen that in the first place, would've been).
    anyway, catheters aren't worth the risk, in my opinion; especially if it's only for recreation.

  8. #8


    The catheters that I had had to be boiled to achieve sterilization, but they were the kind that were reused, so the expense was held to a minimum. That said, I'm not recommending their use when not medically prescribed.

  9. #9


    I've only been cathed by hospital workers, and I've never enjoyed it while I was there, and so I've never considered it something I want to do. Diapers are fairly comfortable, having a tube shoved in me, not so much. >_>

  10. #10


    Um, yea, I do not like catheters at all. Even though it has been a while the catheters I have had, all done by trained medical personnel, have all caused a lot of pain.

    As has also been mentioned there is also the risk of infection which is most often the source of terrible pain, then you still have to pee which is like fire running through your urethra. The only solution is a catheter if you can't urinate, but this is also problematic.

    Catheters can be used very safely but when things go wrong some of the problems can include UTI which can get bad enough to cause death. Also there is some risk of nicking the bladder wall or even a rupture. This can lead to hemorrhage which of course is a good way to cause death.

    Of course I have no idea why you want to use a catheter and the matter is really between you and your doctor. Only you two can really make this decision.

    If it were me and I had a choice in the matter I would decline a catheter and I would go with a diaper, even if it meant the risk of family or friends seeing me diapered *cringe*

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