Julian: The actual physical act of catheterizing yourself is simple; it’s very straightforward. However, the first hurdle was the acceptance of having to do it. The second part is… ‘what happens when I go out?’. Slowly, you start to think that it’s not that bad.
When you’re first learning to do clean intermittent self-catheterisation, it’s not unusual to encounter difficulties. Here are some common issues others who catheterise have dealt with:
Women: how do I find the urethral opening?
A hand-held mirror can be very useful. Always carry one with you.
What if I experience pain when inserting the catheter?
It may be uncomfortable when first starting to use intermittent self-catheterisation. Try to relax, take a deep breath and try one more time. If the discomfort continues or you are experiencing pain, you should inform your doctor or nurse immediately. There are different types of catheters – maybe you would benefit from trying another type. Your doctor or nurse can tell you more about your options.
What if I can’t reach the toilet?
This type of challenge can occur especially if you’re in a wheelchair. You can use a set solution, which is a catheter with a pre-connected urine bag or you can attach your catheter to a urine bag.
What if I have trouble handling the catheter?
If you have limited hand dexterity due to, for example, a spinal cord injury, you might find it difficult to handle a catheter. Together with your doctor or nurse you should look at different catheter options that could enable you to catheterise yourself. Perhaps a slightly firmer catheter will be easier to handle, or ask for one with a bigger grip/handle.
Vision problems or other physical challenges:
If you have vision problems, limited hand dexterity or other physical challenges it can sometimes be difficult to use intermittent catheters. However, it’s very likely that you can still learn the technique. Talk to your doctor or nurse for suggestions, and don’t be discouraged. Once you do master intermittent catheterisation, it will offer much more freedom in your daily life.
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