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New here and happy to find a community of people with prostate problems looking for solutions. Well, not sure if that came out right, but you know what I mean.
I'd like to keep this discussion mostly about self catherizing. People who are doing it, people who have done it, and people considering it. Hopefully, we can share experiences, concerns, techniques, product reviews, traveling with catheters, etc.
By way of a probably too long introduction, I am 68 years old and probably had urine retention to one degree or another since my 40's. Watch n' Wait finally caught up with me a year or so ago when I found it difficult to go to the bathroom without pushing hard on the outsider of my bladder with my hand. A trip to the urologist confirmed the worst as they drained 1400 cc of urine after I had naturally urinated 350 cc. So that meant I was carrying around 1750cc. A bit much.
In actuality, I was probably not carrying around that much daily since I drank a ton of water prior to the exam, but still, I had a big problem. An ultrasound done prior to the visit showed mild hydronephrosis of both kidneys, meaning there was a back up of urine into the kidney because of too much bladder pressure. Not a good thing as urine is only supposed to flow out of the body, not back into it.
The nurse explained that given the condition of my bladder I would need a rehabilitation period of around six weeks to rest my bladder prior to having any operation. The operation this facility did was the TURP. She also couldn't promise me that the operation would work, as it would all depend on the condition of my bladder after it had time to decompress. At that point they would do a urodynamic study and come to a conclusion.
In the meanwhile, I was given a choice to either to go home with a Foley catheter inserted for the six week period -- which was the standard procedure -- or if I wanted, she would show me how to self-catherize, and I could do it myself three or more times a day. I'm a kinda a do-it-yourself person, so I said I'd like to try the self-catherization route as opposed to walking around with a lot of plumbing hanging out.
As to the experience of self-catherization, I’ll start in reverse time order and say that right now, more than a year later, I’m still self-catherizing and it’s really no more bother, nor does it take any more time than brushing my teeth.
Well, it is more inconvenient for sure, especially when away from the home as one needs both supplies and ideally a clean place which public bathrooms aren’t always. But most of the time I do it at home, it takes around five minutes from beginning to end, and there is no pain or discomfort at all. What it accomplishes is that it allows me to completely empty my bladder any time I want, without any drugs, without any procedure. And it has rested and partially rehabilitated my bladder to a point where I can now void naturally about half of the time..
The reason I started in reverse time order was that I didn’t want to scare anyone off with my initial experience with self catherization in the doctor’s office. It was not good. I almost fainted leaning up against the wall with the nurse trying to hold me up with one hand while holding a tub receptacle in the other that was starting to overflow! That, and then several trying weeks of discomfort, and a series of UTI’s ending in wicked case of epididmymitis where my scrotum grew to the size of a softball and where just walking was agony.
Looking back, I think the majority of those problems could have been avoided if the clinic offered me proper training, supervision, and timely treatment for the UTI’s. I have since other accounts where the initial process was not all that bad.
A few months later, I left that clinic, found a concerned doctor who treated the UTI’s, and then I went about researching and experimenting, eventually finding a catheter and technique that was relatively fast with no pain. And I have been UTI free ever since.
All this begs the question why I’m still self-catherizing and I never had that TURP. I was supposed to have the urodynamic test after six weeks, but because of my discomfort and UTI’s it was put off. When I finally did have it, they found I was a candidate for TURP, however by that time my self-cathing was getting a lot easier and I decided, OK, no rush now. So I put things off for awhile.
Reasons for putting off the operation were: (1) An operation is an operation and no guarantees things would get better; (2) ) I was concerned about retrograde ejaculation that my doc said was a given with the TURP; (3) I wanted to explore and/or wait for less invasive techniques to come along, possibly that did not involve retrograde ejaculation: (4) The devil that you know is better than the one you don’t – i.e. I had a technique – self catherization – that, albeit an inconvenience, was working.
So right now, I’m on the fence. Still thinking about getting a procedure, just not sure which one, and not in a rush. I have tried the usual drugs (flomax, etc.,) to see if I could stop or minimize self-catherization, but did not like the side effects. More recently I tried daily Cialis for BPH, and initially it worked very well, and I actually stopped cathing completely for around six weeks, but then had to go back. Now I take the Cialis only occasionally, as I’m also not crazy about its side effects excep,t when, of course, they can come in handy from time to time in the bed department. Meanwhile, catching away, and starting to visit forums like this to see what new things are presenting themselves in the way of procedures, etc.
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