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If you'll be using intermittent catheterisation to manage your bladder disorder, there is a lot to consider. Set yourself up for success by learning the basics here.
Your healthcare professional may recommend intermittent catheterisation to help you manage your bladder disorder. Explore fundamentals that can help you become more comfortable with using a catheter, including features to look for as you begin to choose products.
What is intermittent catheterisation?
Intermittent catheterisation, or in-out catheterisation, is the emptying of the bladder at repeated intervals with a single-use catheter. You can learn to do this yourself or someone can assist you.
If you’ll be catheterising yourself, your healthcare professional can teach you how to do it in the hospital, at a clinic or at home. If you’re a woman, you may need to use a mirror the first few times you self-catheterise, to make inserting the catheter easier. Your healthcare professional will provide you with educational materials that may include a video, education booklet, product instructions and samples.
Frequency and timing of intermittent catheterisation
How often you will need to catheterise will be based on your individual situation.
Initially, intermittent catheterisation is done on a schedule. In adults, the general rule is to catheterise frequently enough to avoid leaving more than 500 ml of urine in the bladder. If you are unable to pass urine independently, you will usually require intermittent catheterisation four to six times daily to ensure that your bladder volume remains within 300 ml and 500 ml.
Ultimately, the right time to empty your bladder will be based on your own experience. Keeping a diary of fluid intake and urination can help you determine just the right frequency. In all cases, you want to catheterise enough times so that your bladder does not become over-distended.
What to look for in an intermittent catheter
Your healthcare professional will determine what size catheter is right for you. The correct size will allow you to insert the catheter into your urethra smoothly and drain your bladder effectively and efficiently. The catheter should be large enough to allow for free flow of urine without causing damage to the urethra.
When choosing your catheter, you should make sure it is:
Finding the right intermittent catheter for you
Your healthcare team is a valuable resource in making the right intermittent catheter choice. Look to them if you have questions or need help making a decision.
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