Catheterization is a crucial aspect of self-care for many individuals managing urological conditions. However, common mistakes can impact the overall experience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore five common catheter mistakes, provide insights on proper utilization, and highlight how Active Life Medical Supply can assist you in obtaining the supplies you need. Plus, we’ll include a step-by-step “how-to guide” on applying lubricant to catheters for a smoother experience.

5 Common Catheter Mistakes:

1. Improper Lubrication Techniques:

Mistake: Insufficient lubrication during catheterization can result in discomfort and complications. To apply lubrication to the catheter, start by ensuring clean hands and using an appropriate amount of water-soluble lubricant. Proper hand hygiene, such as washing hands with warm, soapy water or using disinfecting wipes, is crucial. Using too much lubricant can make the catheter slippery, while too little may cause friction and discomfort during insertion. Insufficient lubrication during catheterization can potentially contribute to urinary tract infections (UTIs). When there is not enough lubrication, the catheter may cause friction and irritation to the urethra, increasing the risk of introducing bacteria into the urinary tract.

Follow our step-by-step guide below on applying lubricant to catheters for a smooth insertion process.

How to Lubricate a Catheter:

To apply lubricant to a catheter, start by ensuring clean hands. Wash them thoroughly with warm, soapy water or a disinfecting wipe. There are two methods:

  1. For lubricant packets: Tear or trim the ends, slide the uncoated catheter inside, and move it back and forth for even coating.
  2. For lubricant tubes: Trim or tear a corner of the packet or open the tube. Squeeze lubrication along the catheter tube. If spreading manually, consider using gloves to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.

2. Inconsistent Catheterization Schedule:

Mistake:  Adhering to a prescribed catheterization schedule is crucial to avoid bladder complications. Initiating catheter use involves following a prescription, especially for intermittent catheters classified as medical devices. Healthcare professional guidance indicates the medical necessity of draining your bladder based on the diagnosis of conditions like an enlarged prostate or spinal cord injury. Regardless of the cause, prioritizing bladder health is essential. Follow your doctor’s recommended catheterization frequency daily, and ensure ample preparation when venturing outside, whether returning to school or traveling. The importance of following the prescription is emphasized, as catheters are medically necessary for draining the bladder due to various conditions, such as an enlarged prostate or spinal cord injury. Prioritize bladder health by catheterizing as recommended and always prepare with enough catheters when leaving home, whether for school or travel.

How to Avoid: Establish a consistent schedule as advised by healthcare professionals for proper bladder function.


3. Reusing Catheters:

Mistake: Reusing catheters increases the risk of infections and complications. Washing and reusing catheters is a common mistake among those new to catheter usage. While some may do it to reduce waste or costs, it may increase the risk of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs). UTIs are unpleasant and can lead to additional medical expenses. It’s essential to consult your doctor or prescribing healthcare professional to determine if sterile use catheterization (using a catheter once and disposing of it) is suitable for your needs. New users may experience hesitancy or aversion to self-catheterization, potentially impacting water intake and cathing frequency. Seeking guidance from healthcare professionals is crucial in such cases.

How to Avoid: Always use a new, sterile catheter for each insertion. Active Life Medical offers a variety of sterile catheter options.

4. Forcing Catheters:

Mistake: Forcing catheters during insertion can cause trauma and discomfort.

Using intermittent catheters for bladder emptying can lead to complications, such as trauma or injury. Inserting a catheter may be challenging, especially initially, and forcing it can cause harm. Resistance during insertion may result from nervousness and tense muscles. If you encounter difficulty, take a break, practice deep breathing, ensure proper catheter lubrication, and try again. Coughing may also assist. However, persistent resistance or pain requires stopping the procedure and contacting your doctor. Underlying issues like urethral obstruction may be present, and consulting a qualified medical professional is crucial for identification and resolution. Initial resistance could stem from tense muscles caused by nervousness about the catheterization procedure. If you encounter difficulty inserting a catheter and feel resistance, it’s advisable to take a break. Practice deep breathing exercises by inhaling through your nose, holding it momentarily, and then exhaling. Repeat this process a few times to promote relaxation. Ensure your catheter is adequately lubricated and attempt the insertion again. Sometimes, coughing might aid in the process.

How to Avoid: Be patient and gentle during insertion. Explore user-friendly catheter options from Active Life Medical.


5. Not Drinking Enough Water:

If you don’t drink enough water while self-catheterizing, it can lead to several potential issues such as dehydration. Inadequate water intake can result in dehydration. Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than it takes in, leading to symptoms like thirst, dark urine, dizziness, and fatigue. Proper hydration is crucial for overall health and well-being. When you don’t drink enough water, your urine becomes more concentrated. Concentrated urine can irritate the bladder and urethra, potentially leading to discomfort during self-catheterization.  Hydration is essential for flushing bacteria out of the urinary tract. Insufficient water intake may increase the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs can be more common in individuals who self-catheterize, and dehydration may contribute to this risk. Hydration helps keep the urethra lubricated, facilitating smoother catheterization. Inadequate water intake may contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Concentrated urine can lead to the crystallization of minerals, which may develop into kidney stones over time.

It’s essential to maintain proper hydration, especially when self-catheterizing, to promote urinary system health, minimize discomfort during the catheterization process, and reduce the risk of complications. Always follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations regarding fluid intake and consult them if you have concerns about your hydration levels or experience any issues while self-catheterizing.

How to Avoid:

To prevent dehydration while self-catheterizing, it is crucial to maintain adequate hydration levels. Follow a routine of drinking water throughout the day and carry water with you, especially when catheterizing away from home. Monitor the color of your urine, aiming for clear or light yellow, as an indicator of proper hydration. Include hydrating foods in your diet, and limit the consumption of diuretic substances such as caffeine and alcohol. Establishing good hydration habits contributes not only to overall health but also helps support effective self-catheterization. It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice on fluid intake based on your specific medical condition and needs, ensuring a balance between proper hydration and the requirements of self-catheterization hygiene.

Where Can I Get A Catheter Covered by Insurance?

Looking for a reliable catheter company? Active Life Medical stands out not just as a top accredited catheter supplier, trusted by healthcare professionals nationwide, but also for our commitment to providing an exceptional customer service experience.

We understand that transitioning to using catheters can be challenging, and some of our team members have firsthand experience with it. Our aim is to make this journey as stress-free as possible, allowing you to get back to living your life.

Discover the Active Life Medical difference by reaching out to us for a free personalized consultation regarding your product needs. If you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to contact us at (800) 319-2336. Alternatively, you can use our convenient contact form on the website. We’re here to assist you every step of the way.

Find out more about Catheter Usage Here.