Types Of Catheters Available
There are three main types of catheters used for ISC and the majority of these are single use disposable. Some catheters have been designed to be reusable although these are now less common.
Hydrophilic coating that create a slippery surface around the catheter when run under water before use. The coating allows for easier insertion into the urethra. These are single use, disposable catheters and are usually made of either PVC or silicone
Self-Cath® Straight Tip Catheter 16 Inch These are the traditional intermittent catheter and most are designed to be washed and reused. They come in a variety of sizes and made in several materials including silicone, PVC, silver or stainless steel. Silver or stainless steel rigid catheters are only suitable for women due to the length of the urethra. These are less commonly used now due to being a little more time consuming and needing to be clean and lubricate the tubes prior to use.
How Do I Self-Catheterise?
Before use, should be stored in a dry area, lying flat and straight. If the packaging is damaged, do not use.
It is very important to wash your hands before touching or inserting the catheter – you may choose to use a fresh baby wipe if there is no wash hand basin in the toilet.
Once you have washed your hands, do not touch anything else except your catheter.
Most catheters have a sticky back patch which allows you to open it and secure it to a surface nearby, such as a wall or sink, making it easier to access when you are ready to insert it into the urethra.
Preparation – For Women
You have to ensure that your vulva (intimate area between your legs) is clean. A daily shower or bath is recommended using a mild soap but when you go out it is useful to keep a small pack of baby wipes in your handbag or pocket to enable you to ensure the area is clean.
There are several ways you can learn to insert the catheter while sitting on the toilet or in your wheelchair, when standing or by putting one foot up onto the toilet seat to enable you to locate your urethra more easily. You can experiment and decide which way feels most comfortable.
If you are a woman and find it hard to locate your urethra, try using a mirror to see where your urine comes out. Once you have done this several times you will probably not need a mirror. You can do it over the bath if it’s easier.
Preparation – For Men
You have to ensure that or the area around the tip of the penis is clean. It may be that a daily shower or bath is sufficient but when you go out it is useful to keep a small pack of baby wipes in a pocket to enable you to ensure the area is clean. Men may stand or sit to perform
- Take the Catheter by the drainage end from the packaging and gently push the other end into your urethra. When the catheter has reached the bladder, urine will drain from it. Make sure all the urine has drained from your bladder before removing it.
- To remove the catheter, gently twist it and pull down. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come out first time. Try again, continuing to pull gently.
- Designed to be used more than once should be cleaned after each use with soap and water, dried with a clean tissue and kept in a sealed plastic bag or container.