When the word catheter comes up, many people have a quick knee jerk reaction, thinking that the process is painful. When in reality, catheterization is an extremely comfortable solution for emptying your bladder. If you are experiencing any discomfort there are a few quick and easy tips to reduce pain, unless it’s a symptom of an underlying condition. Learn how to increase catheter comfort and identify signs of any issues.
Increasing Catheter Comfort
Pick The Right Type Of Catheter
Due to your reason for needing to use a catheter from urinary incontinence to recovering from surgery or a variety of other causes, you may have a few different catheter types to try. Pick the option that’s most comfortable and best suited for your individual needs.
Intermittent Catheters or short term catheters are used a few times during the day to regularly empty your bladder. They are disposed of and replaced after each use to reduce the risk of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). They’re considered to be a more comfortable option because they don’t have to be continuously worn or attached to a bladder bag. But they do involve self-catheterization, which is easy to accomplish.
Indwelling Foley Catheters stay in your body for prolonged periods of time and are inserted by your physician and attached to a drainage bag. To prevent the catheter from slipping out, Foley catheters have a small inflated balloon on the end which is deflated when it’s time to remove it. They are changed based on your individual needs and still allow patients to have active lifestyles without the need for self-catheterization.
External Catheters or condom catheters are a male-only option. Sorry ladies! It’s a noninvasive catheter designed like a condom to wrap around the penis and collect urine in a drainage bag that’s typically attached to the inner thigh. They get eliminate the need to self-catheterization and should be changed once a day.
Avoid Urinary Tract Infections
If you have a catheter-related UTI (CAUTI) you’ll probably notice a few of the following symptoms right away:
- Cloudy urine
- Blood in the urine
- Urine leakage around the catheter
- Pressure, pain, or discomfort in the lower back or stomach
- Fever or chills
- Nausea or vomiting
CAUTIs are caused by bacteria or fungi entering the urinary tract from your catheter and then they multiply, causing an infection. Generally, they are treated with antibiotics.
Avoid UTI infections by taking proper care of your catheter supplies. Always wash your hands and clean your genitals with soap and warm water before inserting it. Dry the area with a clean towel then open your catheter and insert it before touching anything else. Wash your hands again after changing it.
For indwelling catheters wash the skin around the entry point every day in the shower and wash the tubing. Remember to change your drainage bag twice a day by washing your hands, removing and emptying the bag, cleaning the end of the catheter and drainage bag with an alcohol wipe, and then attach it. Make sure there are no kinks or twists in the tubing.
Properly Drain Your Bladder
If urine flows back into the bladder or if the bladder doesn’t fully empty infections and discomfort may occur. When using an intermittent catheter, leave it in until urine stops flowing and then push on your bladder to make sure it’s fully empty.
With indwelling or condom catheters wear your drainage bag below the bladder to help it properly empty and make sure your bag is large enough to last during longer activities such as sleeping or traveling without overflowing.
Try Different Catheter Accessories
There are a variety of catheter types and accessories to choose from. You don’t have to settle for discomfort, keep trying different sample until you find the type of catheter best suited for your comfort.
For example, if you’re tired of dealing with lube and messy hands instead of applying catheter lube yourself, order pre-lubed options.
If your catheter tube is rough around the edges try different options and use your finger to determine if they are smooth or not.
If you have trouble inserting your catheter you can try one with a cloud tip. They are slightly bent at the end to be more comfortable upon insertion and are often preferred by men.
Save With Insurance
Finding out which catheter products you prefer doesn’t have to be expensive, because you may qualify to receive up to 200 items a month through insurance. We will connect with you to provide samples to match you with your favorite products. We will also contact your insurance company and doctor to submit all of the necessary paperwork to ensure that your catheter supplies are shipped directly to your home on a monthly basis.
Information provided on the Aeroflow Urology blog is not intended as a substitute to medical advice or care. Aeroflow recommends consulting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing medical issues relating to incontinence.