Question about catheter use?

My neighbor had a foley catheter for 32 days. It was removed five days ago. His ability to urinate has declined each day. He is up and going every few minutes and has to strain in order to produce anything. His prostate is quite large with a large tumor on one side.

I'm thinking that his ability will continue to decline.

When he was originally admitted to the ER with problems originally he was in full renal failure. He spent 18 days in the hospital with them just trying to get him healthy enough so he could actually be treated for the prostate cancer they found. His creatine levels were almost 20 and he has permanent kidney damage because of the inability to urinate properly for so long before he sought treatment.

The research I've done shows that foleys left in more than 30 days have a significantly higher rate of infection. A nurse suggested to him that he self cath and he reacted strongly and negatively to that suggestion. I'm thinking it may be his best option and might not be as horrible as he thinks. Of course, I have no idea.

Could you share your experience with this? Thanks.


  • ramaka
    ramaka Member Posts: 55


    My Dad (Gleason Score 9) had a very tought time passing urine due to prostate enlargement. Couple of days back he underwent cystoscopy and TURP. He was on catheter for 2 months and 2 prior attempts to remove catheter went futile due to infection and enlarged prostate. We will know on Monday id everything went as planned. You could request your Dr. if there would a feasible option for your neighbor as well.


  • FinishingGrace
    FinishingGrace Member Posts: 82
    Oncologist said no to surgery

    His oncologist said that they would not remove the prostate because the cancer has spread already. We didn't ask him about removing it in order to help with urination.

    Is there such a thing as prostate reduction?

  • Grinder
    Grinder Member Posts: 487 Member

    Let me just say... Self catheterization is every bit as bad as he thinks. The few times I had to do it, since my urethra was inflamed anyway, it was h***. Maybe under normal circumstances and with proper guidance and a self lubricated catheter... But it is still a miserable experience. I guess some guys had better luck with them, but I did not.

    And Foley's can get infected a lot quicker than 30 days. I had one infected after only 10 days, pissing blood and thick brown urine into the bag. And I was very very careful, sanitizing everything, sterilizing or using new components whenever possible. I am VERY surprised a professional suggested wearing a Foley up to 30 days. The professionals I have talked to only recommend 14 days max.

    BUT with the kidney failure that puts it out of the realm of my experience. Is he on dialysis yet? The best solution I could come up with to keep the urethra open long enough with my own massive prostate was a mix of Cialis in the morning and Flomax in the evening. Like I said, it only kept the urethra open just enough to allow the pressure relief and keep my kidneys from danger, but it did work, and I was able to go a couple hours at a time away from pitstops to relieve the pressure buildup in the bladder. 

    I don't know if Flomax is possible, but it works, and even works best together with Cialis taken at opposite times of day. NO other meds worked for me, and certainly NOT naturopathic remedies like Saw Palmetto. Flomax does not shrink the prostate, but it relaxes the prostate and muscle tissue under the bladder and around the urethra. It is generally harmless, except that and the Cialis caused nasal congestion so I had to wear nasal strips at night. Sinus congestion is the only common complaint about Flomax . And insurance will pay for Flomax but not Cialis, even though Cialis has been prescribed for BPH symptoms. Like I said, it was not a miracle cure but it was way way better than wearing a Foley ad infinitum and way way way better than self catheterization.

    Of course since then I had mine removed last year and the difference is a GODSEND! BUT I did not have metastasized cancer, so I can't give any more advice than what I just said. Someone else will have to address that.

    BTW... One time when I was bleeding from the Foley catheter, and when they removed the catheter, the blood was clotting and jamming up the urethra, making it even worse than the prostate symptoms.

  • FinishingGrace
    FinishingGrace Member Posts: 82

    One of the nurses said self catherization was a breeze. It should be noted the nurse was a female... (insert rolling eyes here)

    I just don't know how he can continue without a catheter. They got his creatine levels down to 1.8 in the hospital before releasing him but explained that because of the damage he would never go back to normal and that he needed to always tell any doctor about the kidney damage. 

    He takes Flomax every morning and has every day since being released from the hospital. He is a medicaid patient so I'm assuming the Cialis is out of the question but I will ask.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. Very helpful.

  • Grinder
    Grinder Member Posts: 487 Member
    hey nurse

    Not surprising the nurse thought it a breeze. Female catheters are only some 6 inches long. Show her a male self catheter that looks like a drain snake rooter and feels like it too. Remind her it has to be pushed through a prostate that is pinching off the urethra, and popped through a valve that shuts off the bladder during sex. A man's urethra is some three times longer than a woman's as it snakes around inside, it is not a short straight shot either like a woman's. Add the inflammation of the urethra that usually accompanies severe BPH, and yes I bet childbirth is painful, but I bet catheterizing an infected male urethra is a close second. Good luck to your friend, I don't envy him at all. As to the nurse, I give her Sheldon Cooper's smile of amicable derision.

  • Grinder
    Grinder Member Posts: 487 Member

    I should probably mention I have never tried the self lubricated catheters. The various catheters I used were not, so I had to provide some kind of lubrication or the plastic of the catheter would just grab with friction every millimeter of the urethra. If he has any success with them, i would like to know about it.

  • RobLee
    RobLee Member Posts: 269 Member

    I've had a Foley in for two weeks now. No fun. Can't wait til it comes out, but no idea when that will be. Cystoscopy on Tuesday. Sure glad I don't have to self cath, and hope I never do.