Intermittent catheterization is a medical procedure used to drain the bladder when it doesn’t empty properly. It involves the use of a thin, flexible tube called a catheter, which is inserted into the urethra and used to remove urine from the bladder. This process is usually performed several times a day to ensure that the bladder is emptied completely.
As a female, you may need to undergo this procedure if you have a condition such as spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, or nerve damage that affects your ability to control your bladder. In these cases, using a catheter to empty the bladder can help to prevent complications such as urinary tract infections and bladder stones.
Before you start the procedure, it’s important to gather all of the supplies you’ll need, including a catheter, lubricant jelly, disposable wipes or a clean washcloth, and a drainage container (if you’re not using a toilet). It’s also important to wash your hands thoroughly, as this will help to reduce the risk of infection.
Get in position
When you’re ready to start, you can either lie down on your back with your knees bent and apart, or sit on the toilet with your separated enough to clearly see the urethra. It’s important to clean the area around the urethra before you start, as this will help to reduce the risk of infection. To do this, use two fingers to spread the labia and clean between them with soap and water, remembering to wipe from front to back.
Prepare the catheter
Next, open the catheter and remove it from its packaging without touching the tip. The tip of the catheter is the end with holes on the sides. If your catheter isn’t pre-lubricated, you can put some lubricant on the tip to make the insertion process easier and more comfortable.
With these simple steps, you can successfully perform intermittent catheterization at home, helping to ensure that your bladder is emptied completely and reducing the risk of complications. If you have any concerns or questions, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider, or Better Health coach for support.