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Top 5 Ways to Reduce Catheter Pain

Top 5 Ways to Reduce Catheter Pain

Gloved hand holding a catheter image. Does a catheter hurt? If the right kind is used and t is used properly, catheters should be relatively comfortable.

If you’re new to catheters, or switching to a different type of catheter style, you may be wondering, “Does a catheter hurt?” The truth is, when the right catheters are used and proper procedure followed, cathing should be a relatively comfortable medical device to use. 

But, what should you do if you find catheter usage to be uncomfortable? And, what pain warning indicators should you pay attention to? Below, we’ll discuss some effective ways to prevent or reduce catheter pain, as well as identify key pain-related warning signs that indicate a call to your physician may be necessary.

Woman shown experiencing pain or discomfort. Why does a catheter hurt? Learn more about why this can happen and how to reduce or relieve catheter pain.

Why Does a Catheter Hurt?

Generally speaking, catheter users shouldn’t experience pain or discomfort. That being said, at times users can experience can experience some pain for various reasons. So, why does a catheter hurt exactly? Let’s take a look at some of the primary causes.

Rigidity of the Catheter: How hard or soft your catheter is directly impacts your cathing comfort level. While stiff catheters may be easier to insert, soft catheters can be more comfortable at times to insert.

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. When the wrong tip is used, it can cause significant pain for the user.

Not Enough Lubrication: When catheters aren’t properly lubricated, they can cause more friction inside your urethra. Under lubrication with catheters can lead to scarring, pain, bleeding, and further trauma.

Forceful or Incorrect Insertion: Using too much force or attempting to bypass any blockages when inserting your catheter can lead to pain, scarring, or further trauma. 

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.

Bladder Spasms: Does a catheter hurt resulting from potential bladder spasms? When catheters are inserted, they can sometimes cause bladder irritation, which can lead to bladder spasms. Bladder spasms can also be caused by medical conditions, such as neurogenic bladder, MS, history of stroke, and diabetes. When bladders incur spasms, the contractions can lead to catheter pain.

How to Reduce Catheter Pain

So, we’ve answered the question, “Does a catheter hurt?” But, what do you do to relieve your pain and discomfort? When you’re experiencing catheter pain, it’s essential that you take action to gain relief as quickly as possible. Pain can be indicative of a problem that requires your attention. Here are 5 tried-and-true methods for reducing catheter pain that you may find useful.

  1. Change Your Lubrication Method: If you believe that your pain is being caused by too much friction, pay attention to how your catheters are being lubricated. If you feel that you’re having trouble properly lubricating your catheter, you may consider switching to hydrophilic or closed system catheter options that take care of lubrication for you.
  2. 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 tearing in your urethra, which can lead to pain and discomfort. Switching to a catheter style that has smooth eyelets may help reduce pain and discomfort.
  3. Use Different Tips: There are two different catheter tip styles: straight or coudé (bent tip). If you are experiencing pain or discomfort with one tip, you may want to consider using the other style. Note: It’s important that you discuss this with your doctor or urologist first before switching.
  4. Consider Softer Catheters: While some cath users need rigid caths due to certain blockages or medical conditions, if you are experiencing pain or discomfort with this style of catheter, you may consider switching to a softer catheter design.
  5. Get Further Training: Proper catheter placement procedures are important. 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.

While these tips can be helpful in reducing or relieving pain or discomfort while cathing, this is not to be considered medical advice in any way given by Active Life Medical 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 there something more serious going on? There are some situations causing pain or discomfort that should garner an emergent call to your healthcare provider. Pay attention to the below symptoms or signs:

  • Long lasting or recurrent bladder spasms
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Strong smelling, thick, or cloudy urine
  • Urethral swelling
  • Skin sores
  • Bleeding around your catheter
  • Urine leakage surrounding your catheter area
  • Stones or sediment present in your urine
  • Little to no urine output
It’s important that these signs are paid attention to so that you can prevent further damage to your bladder or other complications from occurring, such as:
If you experience any of the symptoms above, please contact your healthcare provider right away to prevent further complications.
Image of smiling woman sitting on the couch. Does a catheter hurt? If the right kind is used and t is used properly, catheters should be relatively comfortable.

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How Can Active Life Medical Help

When prescribed by your medical professional and deemed medically necessary, catheters are helpful, safe, and comfortable. Plus, by teaming up with the experts at Active Life Medical’s, we can walk you through the process of getting your supplies billed directly and accurately to your insurance and ensure that you get the correct catheter supplies as directed by your physician. We strive to make the entire process easy and hassle-free for all of our customers. We can help by collecting all necessary paperwork from your doctors, coordinating billing with your insurance, and delivering your necessary catheters discreetly and quickly right to the convenience of your doorstep. Plus, we have one of the largest selections of catheters in the industry and only work with top brands, which means you have access to all the catheter supplies you need, when you need them. 

Your in good hands with Active Life – Give us a call at 800-319-2336 today and get the process started.

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