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Long term self-catheterization is okay

Posts: 67
Joined: Apr 2018



I have noticed some comments on self-catheterization and I wanted to share some information that might ease some fears.  Although it is inconvenient and perhaps a little scary long term self-cauterization is okay. I have done it 6 times a day since 2000 when it was discovered that due to some nerve damage (disk disease) I had a bladder retention issue. Three years later I went along with having a TURP which didn’t resolve the problem.  Also there are other techniques for dealing with bladder retention they all have very low success rates and often cause permanent incontinence. I have not been willing to risk any of these procedures outside of my urologist gently stretching the neck of your bladder using metal dilators. I also have an annual cystosposy.  So using an intermittent catheter is part of my life. I clean them with water and use an alcohol wipe before and after use. I always wash my hands well. I travel with them. I will keep one with the wipe and small lube in a Ziploc sandwich bag that I will put in my pocket after my bags have been searched. It really comes in handy on long flights.    At first I was only using the catheter once and throwing them away as is recommended on the package. This is of course something the durable medical equipment industry would like everyone to do as there is a lot of money to be made.  However, there have been many studies that found there is little difference in the infection rate for users who reuse and those who throw them away after a single use.  In fact, I have not had infections since early on when I first started using them.  The problem at that time was I wasn’t washing my hands correctly. 


Posts: 474
Joined: Mar 2017

I am glad you are encouraging people who will have to use them at some point in their lives...

As for me, I hate them, and Foleys too.

But to be fair, Each time I tried to use them, my urethra was inflamed by the recurring Staph infection in my prostate. Sticking a catheter through it was like shoving a hot poker into my business. And my massive prostate just made it harder to get the catheter through a closed off urethra.

Most people probably wont have the issues I had... so maybe for them this is good advice. As for me, thanks to the RP, I dont ever have to worry about catheters in inflamed urethras and massive prostates anymore. Godzilla is not terrorizing the villagers anymore.

RobLee's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Feb 2017

Thanks Santa for telling us your story. You have indeed been very fortunate to have self cathed for so long without incident. Presumably you have neurogenic bladder as a result of your spinal disease. I've had a Foley off and on for a decade or so. My wife is a rehab nurse (CRRN) who worked with many SCI patients. She is more gentle at cathing than any other nurse or urologist I've ever experienced. I consider myself fortunate in that regard.  Sanitary procedures (hand washing) and sterilization of the periuro area are extremely important for success.

Now I have an artificial sphincter, and if it should ever be necessary I must be cathed with a juvenile cath (#12). I wear a medical alert bracelet anytime I'm away from home. The AUS is far better than total incontinence, but brings with it it's own set of inconveniences. All though our two situations are totally opposite, it just goes to show others who may be reading this that even when things do go wrong, we are still able to somehow find a way to live with it.

Posts: 67
Joined: Apr 2018

Thanks RobLee.  Yes I agree you need to do what is necessary and I would certainly try the artifical sphincter.  I would like to keep running until I die so hopefully I can figure out how to make it work. Best wishes! SantaZia

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