If you’re new to catheters or switching to a different type of catheter style, you may wonder, “Does a catheter hurt?” Using proper catheters and following appropriate procedures should make cathing a relatively comfortable medical procedure.

But what should you do if you find catheter usage to be uncomfortable? Is it essential that you pay attention to pain warning indicators? Below, we’ll discuss some practical ways to prevent or reduce catheter pain and identify critical pain-related warning signs that indicate a call to your physician may be necessary.

Why Does A Catheter Hurt?

Generally speaking, catheter users shouldn’t experience pain or discomfort. Users can experience pain for various reasons. Why does a catheter hurt? Let’s take a look at some of the primary causes.

  • Bladder Spasms: Does a catheter hurt resulting from potential bladder spasms? When inserted, catheters can sometimes cause bladder irritation, leading to bladder spasms. Medical conditions such as neurogenic bladder, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke history, and diabetes can cause bladder spasms. When bladders incur spasms, the contractions can lead to catheter pain.
  • Forceful or Incorrect Insertion: Using too much force or attempting to bypass blockages when inserting your catheter can lead to pain, scarring, or trauma. 
  • Incorrect Catheter Tips: Depending on the condition of your urethra, any blockages present, or general anatomy, you may need either a straight tip or a bent (coudé) tip. The wrong tip can cause significant pain for the user.
  • New Usage: When you’re new to catheter insertion, it can be slightly uncomfortable while you get used to the process. It’s normal to feel some pain or discomfort at first.
  • Not Enough Lubrication: When catheters aren’t adequately lubricated, they can cause more friction inside your urethra. Under lubrication with catheters can lead to scarring, pain, bleeding, and trauma.
  • Rigidity of the Catheter: While stiff catheters may be easier to insert, soft catheters can sometimes be more comfortable.

How To Reduce Catheter Pain:


We’ve answered the question, “Does a catheter hurt?” What do you do to relieve your pain and discomfort? When experiencing catheter pain, you must gain relief as quickly as possible. Pain can be indicative of a problem requiring your attention. Here are five tried-and-true methods for reducing catheter pain.

  • Change Your Lubrication Method: You should pay attention to how your catheters are lubricated if you believe your pain is caused by too much friction. If you’re having trouble lubricating your catheter, you may consider switching to hydrophilic or closed system catheter options for lubrication.
  • Consider Polished Eyelets: Catheter eyelets are drainage holes on the tip of the insertion portion of your catheter. Depending on the manufacturer of your catheter, the eyelets can sometimes not be smooth; this can cause friction or tear in your urethra, leading to pain and discomfort. Switching to a catheter style with smooth eyelets may help reduce pain and discomfort.
  • Consider Softer Catheters: While some cath users need rigid caths due to specific blockages or medical conditions, you may consider switching to a softer catheter design if you are experiencing pain or discomfort with this catheter.
  • Get Further Training: Proper catheter placement procedures are essential. If you feel that you’re experiencing more pain or discomfort due to difficulty placing your cath, consider contacting your doctor, urologist, or caregiver for further training.
  • Use Different Tips: There are two catheter tip styles: straight or coudé (bent tip). If you are experiencing pain or discomfort with one tip, you may consider using the other style. Before switching, you must discuss this with your doctor or urologist.

While these tips can help reduce or relieve pain or discomfort while cathing, this is not to be considered medical advice in any way given by Active Life Medical Products or its employees. Please consult with your healthcare professional regarding any catheter changes you are considering.

Does Your Catheter Hurt? Pay Attention To These Pain

Warning Signs 


Does a catheter hurt due to a temporary and solvable issue, or is something more serious going on? Some situations causing pain or discomfort should garner an emergent call to your healthcare provider. Pay attention to the below symptoms or signs:

  • Bleeding Around Your Catheter
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Little To No Urine Output
  • Long Lasting Or Recurrent Bladder Spasms
  • Skin Sores
  • Stones Or Sediment Present In Your Urine
  • Strong Smelling, Thick, Or Cloudy Urine
  • Urethral Swelling
  • Urine Leakage Surrounding Your Catheter Area

These signs must be paid attention to so that you can prevent further damage to your bladder or other complications from occurring, such as:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Bladder Damage
  • Bladder Stones
  • Blood In The Urine Or Blood Infections
  • Kidney Damage
  • Urethral Damage Or Injury
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

If you experience any of the symptoms above, please contact your healthcare provider immediately to prevent further complications.

How Active Life Medical Products Can Help With Catheter


You need a trusted catheter product supplier when you require catheter supplies. Active Life Medical Products makes ordering the entire catheter supply process easy. Our Product Specialists can help you get your prescribed catheter covered through most insurances. Everything will be delivered directly and discreetly to your front door.

Call Active Life Medical Products at (800) 319-2336 to place your order.

Find out more about catheter tips here.