Intermittent Catheters – Overcoming Basic Catheterization Issues

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Intermittent catheters help people with compromised bladder function in draining urine from the bladder. They provide assistance where natural draining of urine is not possible. Although intermittent catheterization is a widely preferred procedure, it has its own challenges and risks. Through this article you will learn how to overcome the challenges and minimize the risks associated with intermittent catheterization. It contains some easy steps which are to be followed when you encounter basic catheterization issues.

Intermittent Catheters

Difficulty Inserting the Catheter

If you find it difficult to insert the intermittent catheter, you are advised to relax and take some deep breaths. Try coughing slightly when inserting the catheter. If still you are unable to insert the catheter, do not force it inside. Remove the catheter and try inserting it again after an hour. In case your bladder is full and you are feeling uneasy, seek for medical assistance immediately.

Difficulty Removing the Catheter

Usually the intermittent catheter comes out by relaxing. If you find it difficult to remove the catheter, try coughing. In case the bladder mucus is stuck in the eyes of the catheter, you can rotate the intermittent urinary catheter to help ease removal.

No Urine Drainage from the Intermittent Catheter

  • Sometimes lubricating gel blocks the drainage eyes of the intermittent catheter which interrupts the urine flow. Since lubricating gel is water-based, it takes around one or two minutes to dissolve in the urine. Slight coughing can help in starting the flow of urine.
  • Make sure that you have inserted the intermittent catheter correctly. If you are female, check that you have not mistakenly inserted the intermittent catheter into your vagina instead of urethra. In case you have inserted the catheter into the vagina, remove it and then try again with a new catheter. Reusing the used catheter can transfer germs from the vagina to the bladder, resulting in urinary tract infections. If you are male, check that you have inserted the intermittent catheter up to a sufficient distance in the urethra. About 10 cm of the intermittent urinary catheter should be visible.
  • If you are unable to drain urine even after performing the above-mentioned steps, slowly remove the catheter out of the urethra and seek medical help.

Stomach Cramps and Discomfort

Catheter irritating the bladder or pressure on the bladder due to constipation can result in stomach cramps. These cramps are commonly known as bladder spasms. If bladder spasms occur due to irritation of the bladder, you need to consult your healthcare provider immediately.

Urine is Smelly and Discolored

Signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) are as follows:

  • Smelly and discolored urine
  • Discomfort in lower back or loin areas
  • Sensation of burning around the catheter
  • Soreness and itching
  • High temperature
  • Not feeling well

If you see any of these symptoms, consult your healthcare provider immediately. He might take a urine sample for laboratory testing. Urine sample should always be taken after changing the catheter for accurate results. Your healthcare provider will suggest you a course of antibiotics to treat the urinary tract infection. By increasing the amount of fluid intake, unless suggested otherwise by your healthcare provider, you can quickly flush the bacteria out of the system.

Blood in the Urine

Except following some surgical procedures on the bladder or prostate, there should not be any blood present in the urine. If you find any blood in the urine, consult your healthcare professional immediately. Occasionally, there might be a small amount of bleeding if the intermittent catheter has irritated your urethra. It is usual and there is no need to panic. Talk to your doctor if bleeding is heavy or continuous.



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