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Self-catheterisation

Published 5th February 2019 by Sorin Tudorut

When you are new to self-catheterisation, it can feel daunting. You might be worried that the process will be painful or embarrassing, but lots of people use catheters every day. Remember that you should never force a catheter, and if you feel a blockage or you’re in pain, always get advice from a medical professional.

To feel more comfortable using catheters, it’s important to find the right products for you.

Consider using a coudé tip 

‘Coudé’ translates from the French word for ‘elbow’ or ‘bend’. Coudé tip catheters have an angled end, which some people find easier to navigate around narrow areas of the urethra. Straight catheters can be difficult to insert, particularly for men with conditions which cause an enlarged prostate. Often, this is easier to bypass using a coudé tip catheter.

Know your options

Catheters can be used discreetly and conveniently. There are lots of solutions available, so if the products you’ve been given don’t work well for you, don’t be afraid to try alternatives. More advanced options, such as GentleCath™, are designed with the user in mind. These products make the process as easy as possible and are available in a range of lengths, with straight tip and coudé tip options.

Develop a routine that works for you

Everybody is different, so you need to find your individual solutions. Some catheters are pre-coated in lubricant, but you may find that an uncoated product works best for you. If this is the case, manually applying lubricant should help the catheter reach your bladder more easily. The process will become easier as you become more adept at catheterisation.

Don’t suffer in silence

If you use intermittent catheters, the urine drains through small holes called ‘eyelets’. In some catheters, these holes have rough edges which can be uncomfortable during insertion and usage. Don’t settle for a product that causes you discomfort. There are catheters available which are specifically designed to have smooth, rounded off eyelets. By providing a smoother insertion, these products lessen the risk of damage to the delicate tissues around the urethra.

Avoid latex if you need to

If you regularly feel itchy after catheterisation or the skin in the area becomes irritated, it could be due to a latex allergy. If you suspect that you are allergic to latex, there are plenty of latex-free products available to suit your needs.

It is common to feel some discomfort when you first begin to catheterise, but you should seek advice from your urologist if you feel excessive or ongoing soreness.

For further advice, please contact a member of our team on 0800 028 4131.