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Intermittent catheterisation is considered as an effective and safe method, which offers patients independence and and significantly improving quality of life. In recent years, intermitent catheterisation (IC) has become the preferred therapy for treating patients with neurogenic bladder dysfunction suffering with diseases such as paraplegia, spina bifida or multiple sclerosis.

IC is implemented only after a doctor has carefully considered all aspects of a patient's disease pattern. This is done by emptying the bladder at regular intervals with the aid of a single catheter. Between each emptying, the amount of urine retained in the bladder will dictate the need for IC. 

Children with neurogenic bladder dysfunction can be catheterised by the parents/guardians or a professional care service, always ensuring that the principles of aseptic catheterisation are applied. Parents/guardians should ask their doctor or health care professional who will explain and demonstrate the correct catheterisation procedure. With careful training, parents/guardians will be able to catheterise their own child.

The age at which a child can begin to self-catheterise, will depend on their own development and confidence.

2.0 - 2.7mm (Ch06 - Ch08) catheters are typically used in infants and small children.

A healthy bladder is one that is emptied regularly, approximately 5-6 times a day. The frequency of catheterisation depends on the individual and factors such as the amount you drink, the weather, additional medication prescribed and your specific reason for catheterisation. Your healthcare professional will let you know how often you will need to catheterise. You should think about the best times of day to catheterise yourself to fit in with your lifestyle.

This can vary depending on how active you are and how hot the weather is. You should aim to drink approximately 1.5 litres or 2-3 pints of fluid per day. Try to avoid caffeine-containing drinks such as tea and coffee.

Get into a comfortable position, try to relax and wait for a while before you try again. Some people find that taking a bath helps to relax them. If you find that you cannot insert the catheter by yourself, contact your Health Care Professional.

Try not to worry and wait a while before you try again. Coughing can sometimes help loosen the catheter.

Do not allow your bladder to become too full. The following symptoms may indicate that your bladder has become too full:

  • A tender, bloated lower stomach
  • Headache
  • Feeling hot and sweating

If there is no urine draining, remove the catheter and try a new one. Make sure you are putting the catheter in the right place. If there is still no drainage and you feel your bladder is still full, contact your healthcare professional.

One of the most common complications of IC, is urinary tract infection. There may also be blood in the urine, bleeding from the urethra or difficulty inserting the catheter. If you experience any of these, please contact your care team.

  • Burning sensation 
  • High temperature 
  • Feverish symptoms
  • Cloudy unpleasant smelling urine

In the case of the above, contact your healthcare professional and increase fluid intake.