Living with the need for intermittent catheterization can be challenging, but with the right information and support, individuals can maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. In this guide, we’ll cover the essentials of catheterization, including reasons someone might need to use a catheter, where to obtain catheters, the recommended frequency of self-catheterization, and step-by-step instructions for both men and women.

 

Why Use a Catheter?

Catheters may be recommended for various medical conditions, such as bladder retention, neurogenic bladder, spinal cord injuries, and complications after surgeries on the abdomen, bladder, prostate, or uterus. These conditions can hinder the natural emptying of the bladder, necessitating the use of catheters to maintain urinary health.

 

Where to Obtain Catheters:

Active Life Medical understands the importance of accessibility. With a prescription, catheters and related supplies can be conveniently obtained through our online medical supply store. Many insurance plans, including Medicare, state Medicaid, and private insurances like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and United Healthcare, often cover the cost of catheter supplies.

 

Frequency of Self-Catheterization:

Determining how often to self-catheterize is a personalized decision made in consultation with healthcare professionals. Your urologist, general practitioner, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner will prescribe a schedule based on your specific needs, ensuring optimal bladder and kidney health.

 

How to Perform Catheterization:

Mastering catheterization is a straightforward process that almost anyone can learn. Active Life Medical provides instructional booklets, DVDs, and online resources for men, women, boys, and girls. Below are step-by-step guides for both genders:

 

For Girls and Women:

Wash Hands Thoroughly: Begin by washing your hands with soap and water to ensure cleanliness and reduce the risk of infections.

Prepare the Catheter: Open the catheter packaging using clean hands. Ensure that the catheter is not damaged and is ready for use.

Clean the Genital Area: Use mild soap and water to clean the genital area, wiping from front to back. This helps prevent contamination and reduces the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Assume a Comfortable Position: Find a comfortable position, whether sitting on the toilet or standing with one leg elevated. Relax to make the process smoother.

Insert the Catheter Gently: Hold the catheter at the base and gently insert it into the urethra until urine begins to flow. Take your time to avoid discomfort or resistance.

Allow Urine to Flow: Once the urine starts flowing, allow it to drain into the toilet or a designated container. Ensure a steady and controlled flow.

Remove the Catheter Slowly: Carefully withdraw the catheter once urine stops flowing. Do so slowly to avoid any discomfort or potential injury.

Dispose of the Catheter Properly: Dispose of the used catheter in a designated container or disposal bag. Wash your hands thoroughly again.

 

For Boys and Men:

Wash Hands Thoroughly: As with women, start by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Prepare the Catheter: Open the catheter packaging with clean hands, ensuring the catheter is undamaged and ready for use.

Clean the Penis and Surrounding Area: Use mild soap and water to clean the penis and the surrounding area. Wipe from the tip of the penis outward to maintain hygiene.

Assume a Comfortable Position: Find a comfortable position, either sitting on the toilet or standing. Relax to make the catheterization process more comfortable.

Insert the Catheter Gently: Hold the catheter at the base and gently insert it into the urethra until urine starts to flow. Take your time to avoid discomfort or resistance.

Allow Urine to Flow: Allow the urine to flow into the toilet or a container. Ensure a controlled and steady flow.

Remove the Catheter Slowly: Withdraw the catheter slowly once urine stops flowing. This helps prevent discomfort or potential injury.

Dispose of the Catheter Properly: Dispose of the used catheter in a designated container or disposal bag. Wash your hands thoroughly.

Common Mistakes During Intermittent Self-Catheterization:

Poor Hygiene: Ensure thorough handwashing and cleaning of the genital area to prevent infections.

Rushing the Process: Take your time during both insertion and withdrawal to avoid discomfort or potential complications.

Using the Wrong Catheter Size: Consult with your healthcare professional to ensure you are using the correct catheter size for effective drainage and comfort.

 

Traveling with a Catheter:

Maintaining your catheter routine while traveling is essential. Pack sufficient supplies, and keep them in a clean, easily accessible bag. Be aware of restroom locations and plan breaks accordingly to ensure comfort during your journey.

 

Contact Active Life Medical:

For further assistance or to discuss your catheterization needs, feel free to contact Active Life Medical at (800) 319-2336 or use our convenient contact form on our website. Our dedicated team is here to support you on your journey to a healthier, more active life.