Do you have questions about using a catheter? You’re not alone.
There are so many different types of catheters and ways to use them, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Don’t let the vocabulary intimidate you. Ask your doctor as many questions as you need to.
At the end of the day, whether you’re using a condom catheter or indwelling catheter, at the hospital or at home, your catheter is a medical device designed to make your life better. By asking more questions and getting the answers you need, you’ll be able to make sure that’s how it works in the end.
There are several different types of catheters, but they all work with the same idea in mind. A catheter is medical equipment that you can purchase thru a medical supply store. It is a drainage bag designed for urine.
Some of the common types of catheters include condom catheters, which have catheter bags outside of the body, indwelling catheters, which go inside the urethra and into the bladder, and coude catheters, which are designed to move around blockages in the urethra to get safely to the bladder.
If you’re using a straight catheter at home, pay close attention to the directions from your doctor. Make sure to ask any questions you feel unclear on.
For both males and females, you will have to be very clean throughout the process in order to avoid infection. The first step is to notice you need to empty the bladder. This will likely happen every four to six hours. Pay attention to a feeling of fullness in the bladder.
Try to see if you can urinate before using the catheter.
You’ll want to have some lubricating jelly on hand that dissolves in water. This means something like K-Y brand jelly, not vaseline.
If you are going to empty the urine into the toilet, then you don’t need a container. If not, you will need a container for the urine, like a catheter bag.
Females may find a mirror helpful during the insertion process.
How to Insert a Catheter
In both males and females, you will find the urethra and insert the catheter until urine begins to flow, and then insert about one inch further. Let the urine drain.
How to Remove a Catheter
Remove the catheter by pulling it out very slowly. Once you’re done, clean the catheter thoroughly. You may find a squeeze bottle or a syringe helpful for squirting soapy water into the tube so it can be thoroughly cleaned. After you have washed it with warm and soapy water you will need to dry it before you put it into a clean container.
Make sure to also wash your hands thoroughly.
If you’ve had an indwelling catheter at the hospital, your bladder and your urethra will be weak for a couple days. You may think you need to strain to urinate on your own, but that’s a mistake. You want to let the urine flow naturally.
This means you should try tricks for getting your bladder to work as you wish. For example, during the day, go to the bathroom and try every three hours or so. Again, do not strain to urinate.
While you’re attempting to pee, run water in the sink and do your best to relax your muscles. While it may feel awkward, it can be useful to sit down while you try to pee. This way you can do things like lean forward. While it may also feel unnatural, taking a warm bath and trying to urinate in the tub can also be very useful.
What to Do For Catheter Pain
There are a lot of reasons why your catheter hurt, many of them normal. Still, it’s best to talk to your doctor about any pain you’re experiencing to make sure you’re doing okay. Especially since there are tips that can help you eventually use a catheter pain free.
Whether you’re at home or at the doctor’s office, there are different tips for catheters, like a coude catheter or catheter eyelets. Ask your doctor about what options may be best for you.
If your at-home catheter is uncoated, make sure to coat the end with a lubricant that dissolves in water, like K-Y jelly.
Is your catheter bag pulling on the catheter while you urinate? This can be painful, so make sure to look if you’re experiencing discomfort and notice if that’s happening.
If you were using a catheter before, and are only just starting to be sensitive, it could be a sign of infection. It’s important to do your best to keep your catheters clean, but sometimes this still happens. If something feels off, contact your doctor for help.