Questions and answers about intermittent self-catheterisation

Compiled below is a list of some of the most commonly asked questions from people like you who are new to ISC

The answers may help you to dispel uncertainty and worries, and increase your confidence about intermittent self-catheterisation. However, this should not replace the advice of your healthcare professional.

Q: Why do I need to catheterise?
Your bladder is unable to store and/or empty urine properly. There are many reasons why some people cannot empty their bladders and your healthcare professional will explain what the reasons are in your case and why you need to do ISC. ISC may improve your health condition and increase independence and self-confidence.

Q: How long will I need to catheterise for?
This depends on the reason for incomplete emptying and on your specific condition. Performing ISC could be temporary after surgery or injury while your bladder returns to normal function again. Or it can be permanent due to a spinal cord injury or a disease that affects your urinary system. Your healthcare professional will support you and help you to manage the new situation to protect your bladder health.

Q: How often should I catheterise?
Your healthcare professional will assess and determine how often catheterisation is necessary. Keeping a urine record may precede the defining of the amount. Please consider the intervals also change with the daily drinking volume.

Q: Is ISC painful?
When you start learning ISC, your urethra might become sensitive, but with time that should disappear. Ensure that you are using the right size of catheter and follow the instructions of your healthcare professional. You might feel pressure, but no pain. ISC shouldn’t be painful. If you feel pain, contact your healthcare professional.

Q: Sometimes I have trouble to find my urethral opening. What shall I do?
Your healthcare professional will help you to locate the urethral opening. With practice, it will become an easy routine.

Q: What should I do if I am unable to insert my bladder catheter?
First rule, don’t panic, keep calm and try to relax. Never use force or be in a hurry when inserting your bladder catheter. If you meet resistance when inserting, stop, take a few slow breaths or wait a moment. After a while the muscles will relax, try again. The urinary catheter will slide in.
If you continue to have difficulties, contact your healthcare professional for advice.

Q: What should I do if I am unable to remove my bladder catheter?
Relax, don’t worry. This happens usually because your muscles are tense. Wait for 10 minutes and then try again. For some people, gently coughing may help as this relaxes the muscles. Never force a bladder catheter out. It may also be helpful to kink the catheter above the funnel to avoid vacuum. If you are still unable to remove your urinary catheter, contact your healthcare professional for advice.

Q: Sometimes I notice drops of blood in my urine. Is this normal?
Especially when you start practicing ISC, small drops of blood in the urine can be seen. The urethral tissue can be slightly damaged but this should soon heal. It is quite common and only temporary. You can continue to perform ISC. However, if it is persistent or heavy, contact your healthcare professional. This might be an indication for a urinary tract infection.

Q: What can I do to prevent a urinary tract infection?
There is a slight chance of a urinary tract infection as the catheter provides a direct route for bacteria to enter the bladder. Therefore attention should be paid to:
• Hygiene – always carry out ISC as an aseptic non-touch procedure including washing hands and genitals before catheterisation. The catheter must not touch anything before entering the urethra.
• No residual urine – ensure to empty your bladder regularly and completely each time you catheterise. When the urine stops flowing, remove the bladder catheter and stop if urine flows again.
• Enough fluids – drinking sufficient fluid ensures a flushing effect. Adults should drink a minimum of 1.5–2 litres per day.

Q: How do I know if I have a urinary tract infection?
You might have a urinary tract infection, when you have the following symptoms:
• feeling unwell
• having a temperature or fever, chills or shivering
• pain on catheterising
• back pain
• cloudy or offensive smelling urine
• persistent blood in the urine

Q: What shall I do if I have a urinary tract infection?
Consult your doctor for medical help, drink plenty of fluids and continue with ISC.

Q: Why is it important to wash my genital area after bowel movement?
This is essential to prevent any bacterial contamination of the urethral area. Always wash away from the urethral area.

Q: Do I need to catheterise at night?
It is usually sufficient to catheterise before going to sleep and immediately after waking up in the morning, however, your healthcare professional will advise what is right for you.

Q: Will my sex life be affected by using the urinary catheter?
There is no reason why your sex life should be affected negatively. On the contrary, a sexual relationship is possible without discomfort or the fear of incontinence. Discuss this with your healthcare professional who can give you specific advice. It is OK to perform catheterisation either before or after sex.

Q: What do I need to do if I travel abroad?
If you are travelling abroad, please ensure to take enough urinary catheters with you, as they may not be available there during your visit. Carry them in your hand luggage with a medical certificate from your healthcare professional explaining that you need them to empty your bladder.

Q: How often can I use my catheter and does it have an expiry date?
Our intermittent catheters are single-use catheters. You must dispose the catheter once it has been used. Each new bladder catheter in unopened and undamaged packaging has a particular shelf life (you will find it on the labelling).

Q: Where and how do I store my single-use catheters?
Store your single-use catheters flat in their original packaging in a dry place and keep away from direct and indirect sources of light and heat. Please follow the guidance in the instructions for use.

Q: Do the Teleflex intermittent single-use catheters contain any latex derivatives?
Our intermittent catheter systems are not made with natural rubber latex.

This information does not substitute the IFU provided with each product.
This information is intended as a guide only and is not substitute for a visit to the doctor or for medical treatment. Please always ask your doctor if you have medical problems. Teleflex cannot accept any liablity for the accuracy or completeness of this information.
For more information and advice regarding ISC, please contact your healthcare professional.


© 2021 Teleflex Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.