Adjusting to the process of using urinary catheters can be a drastic lifestyle change for many patients. Despite advances in medical technology which make catheters more comfortable, intuitive, and discrete, there are still manual processes involved in this procedure that can sometimes be performed several times daily. If patients do not utilize good practices when catheterizing, they will not only render their treatment uncomfortable or even ineffective, they may adversely affect their own health as well. Intermittent catheters, by nature of how often they must be changed for many patients, are among the most essential for developing good catheterization practices. If patients learn how to use an intermittent catheter safely and routinely, they can see a dramatic improvement in their quality of life.
For both male and female patients, how to use an intermittent catheter has some universal standards which should always be adhered to for maximum effectiveness and safety. Before taking any action, patients should ensure that all relevant supplies such as gloves, catheters, lubricant or antiseptic nearby and easily accessible. Patients should always wash their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. If possible, utilizing gloves after hand washing can be an excellent extra step to take to prevent contamination and urinary tract infections. A collection bag or other receptacle should also be easily accessible. By taking these precautions and steps each and every catheterization, patients will be more comfortable and preserve the sterility of their catheters.
For men, how to use an intermittent catheter can sometimes be challenging given the overall length of the catheter. Lubricant should always be employed, either in the form of hydrophilic, pre-lubricated catheters, or using separate lubricant applied to the first few inches of the catheter after opening the package. Patients should hold their penis either pointing straight away from them or straight up, whichever they find more comfortable. When inserting the lubricated catheter, patients should not feel a great deal of discomfort or resistance. If you experience resistance, wait a few minutes and try again. Never attempt to force the catheter in, as this can damage the urethra. Even once urine begins to flow, patients should always insert the catheter 2 more inches, followed by pressing or flexing their abdominal muscles, to ensure the bladder is completely empty. If during catheter removal the urine begins to flow again, patients should stop and allow it to cease before continuing removal. Always wash hands afterwards and properly dispose of any refuse.
For female patients, how to use a urinary catheter is similar in principle, but can be quite different in practice. Many of the same precautions as for male patients should be followed, particularly utilizing lubricant for comfort. Female patients will often find that a sitting or laying position will provide the greatest ease of catheterization, and utilizing a mirror will also aid in the process by making it easier to locate the urinary opening. Once the catheter is inserted, and urine begins to flow, female patients should be comfortable inserting the catheter about 1 more inch and tightening or pressing the abdomen to ensure that the bladder empties completely. If any additional urine begins to flow during catheter removal, stop and wait for the flow to cease. Again, any resistance or major discomfort should be reported to your physician, as sometimes additional education or even a different catheter product will ultimately be needed for patient comfort and safety.
The process of how to change an intermittent catheter can seem to be daunting at first, but with proper education, practice, and making sure that patients are set up with the right catheter product, it does not have to be uncomfortable, embarrassing, or inconvenient. If you or someone you know are experiencing medical conditions which require intermittent catheter use, contact Aeroflow Healthcare today. Our trained representatives can work discretely with you and your doctor to get the products you need. We offer competitive pricing, utilize your insurance, provide continual education and support, and ship directly to your home, helping you to maintain your quality of life.