Intermittant Cath (is it relatively safe?)

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Hi,

I recently started using intermittant catheters. I'm always worried about getting an infection. If I'm very careful about washing hands, etc. is their any need to worry about infection? I only cath once per day.

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  • Posted

    Pat,

    I may have to start doing the same. Do you have a plan for a long term solution? Also do you find it difficult to self cath?

    In regards to you question, I would think that using disposable surgical gloves would be a good idea.

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  • Posted

    We have a thread here that may answer some of your questions.

    https://patient.info/forums/discuss/self-catherization-an-alternative-to-turp-greenlight-holep--336874?page=2#2068728

    But in a nutshell, it is a relatively safe process but infections can occur and should be attended to with a knowledgeable urologist without delay. I had several UTI's the first few months I self cathed but then my body got used to it. Haven't had a UTI in a couple of years now.

    Difference between a UTI and colonization. The first has symptons and should be treated, the second has no symptons and it should not be treated with antibiotics. Both can have a similar clinical profile (positive leukocytes, etc) so the average GP might treat colonization when he shouldn't.

    How much urine comes out when you cath? If it's more than 400cc, then in general you should be doing it more than once a day for bph. You can measure in a plastic measuring cup found in grocery stores.

    Jim

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    • Posted

      Ideally you want to have a culture done before choosing the antibiotic. Hopefully that could be done locally at a lab or doc in a box with the results sent to your doc. That said there are a few "go to" broad spectrum antibiotics that docs often use if they don't want to wait for the culture result. Having one of those at home isn't a bad idea but just don't start popping them unless really indicated. There may be some initial bleeding, burning,discomfort but that doesn't necessarily mean a uti. It can be normal like that in the beginning. Real discomfort combined eith let's say a fever is another story. A urologist experienced with self cathing shld be able to sort it out on the phone even without lab results at hand.

      Jim

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    • Posted

      Just had an appt with Uro and went over lack of performance issues with my Urolift 8 months ago.   My bladder had 580 cc after I had just voided.

          Ended up having their trainer go over the self cath procedure and did my first one today while I was there.   Come to find out I had 640 cc. 

      Anyways he set me up with about 20 of them.   He thinking that the Urolift procedure is fine that it's my bladder that's the problem.  

      I asked him to fax in a scrip just so I have some antibiotiocs if all of a sudden I get a UTI.   Going back in 3 weeks if no change then he is going to refer me to a University level for a 2nd opinion.  So now I am wondering how does one get there bladder back down to an ok size?

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    • Posted

      Hi Anthony,  the bladder question depends on how severely and for how long it was streched.  My Urolift Dr. said four months until you will know what you have.  I had my Urolift in early December, and the doc warned that my bladder was pretty seriously stretched.  When my prostate fully closed off my ability to pee, I had to be cathed.  They released 2.5 LITERS of the golden liquid!  And it appears the retention had long been a problem I had refused to face.  As a result of the "Run Away!  Run Away!"  period of avoidance, my bladder will never be what it once was.  I now cath twice a day, noon and bedtime, and pee normally at other times...  And without careful watch on my body, I will cath off 500-800cc.  If I am really attentive, it drops to 450cc midday, and as little as 300cc at night.  

      The bladder muscles are not like arm muscles, which are long, sinewy, and able to "regroup."  The bladder muscles are short, box-like structures that when too streched, and for too long, just don't regain their youthful shape nor vigor.  In my case, it started in my early 20s, when I rode motorcycle, sometimes long distances, and was loathe to stop for anything, especially to pee!

      In other words, the Urolift was successful, but the evidence of the sins of my youth are with me for the rest of my life!  ;-)

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  • Posted

    Keep a bottle of ciproflexen anti-biotics on hand. Your doc will give you an Rx.  As soon as you notice blood in your urine, start taking it.
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    • Posted

      I'm sorry but this is VERY bad advice. If I took an antibiotic every time I noticed blood in my urine, I would be in a lot of trouble. You only take antibiotics if you have a legitimate UTI as per discussed earlier in this thread. Blood in the urine can have many causes and is relatively common with with self cathing, especially in the beginning. That said, having a bottle of cipro on hand is not a bad idea but only use it if you have a legitimate uti and ideally only when your doc has reviewed your culture.

      Jim

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  • Posted

    Thanks for the replies. I've self cathed already a few times, and their was alot of blood. It's pretty scarey to see that. I went down to a F12 and it was better. I use the bottle of anti bacterial dispenser before doing anything. Is it necessary to wipe your penis really? I don't have to be so particular that i can't even touch the plastic wrap of the cath do i? I open it first so i can just grab IT, and slide it out.

    If their is blood, intuition tells me that any open wound is suseptible to greater risk of infection, so i'lll be very careful.

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    • Posted

      ABSOLUTELY WIPE THE HEAD OF THE PENIS!!!!  You want a germ-free landing pad, absolutely!  One time in France I did a late-night cath, middle of the night.  I forgot to wipe (The ONLY time in 18+months of cathing), and in less than 24 hrs had a UTI going.  

      I had several bouts with UTIs in 15 months of 4 or 5X per day cathing.  I refined my approach, and have had no UTI events since early December. And my new technique (with SpeediCath 14s, straight-tip) allows me to cath WITHOUT WASHING HANDS or ALCOHOL-SWABBING THEM.  Not recommended for the newbie, but worth knowing about.  

      TO REMEMBER:  DO NOT, NOT, NOT TOUCH the wet portions of the catheter.  You want nothing touching the wet surfaces except the insides of you manly appendage!  :-)   Prviate message me if you would like to learn sure-fire way to use cath without worrying about your hands...

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    • Posted

      A tiny bit of blood can loook like more than it is once it is in the bowl or a container.  The color of the stram itself is the best way to determine whether it is too much.
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    • Posted

      My first cath nurse said it was not necessary to wipe/wash the head of my penis. This is a common instruction. At the other end of the spectrum, are gloves, urethral irrigation and a sterile like field. I've been to all those places.

      My current practice is to clean my hands with a hand cleaner (pump dispenser nearby) and then squirt a couple of sprays of an antibacterial solution into the urethra and on the head of the penis. Then I cath. No gloves. Takes almost no time at all.

      As mentioned, the hand washing can be optional if you don't touch the part of the catheter that goes into the urethra (I hold mine only on the plastic funnel end) however the hand sanitizing literally takes only a few seconds and you will be touching your penis (with the non-cathing hand, so I do it.

      Jim

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    • Posted

      Just want to add that if you are unable to navigate the catheter unless you touch the slippery surface that enters the urethra, then gloves make a lot of sense. Not only more sterile, but they will give you a better grip on the catheter. But once you learn to "nose dive" the catheter into the urethra (no touch method) the gloves literally come off. The "nose dive" method is talked about more in length in the other thread I referenced earlier. It works very well with the somewhat rigid speedicaths but if you are using the red rubber variety then you will need to feed it in by hand and that's where the gloves should be used IMO.

      Jim

      Jim

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    • Posted

      That is just about the same way that i do it too. So, the cath is stiff enough that you can push it in with just holding the plastic end of it? I'm using a F12
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    • Posted

      Yes. Works that way with speedicath F12 for me. However some may need the stiffness of the F14 or even larger.
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    • Posted

      With the hydrophilic models avialable, I can't believe that anyone would choose to use the red rubber type anymore.  They did, at my urologist's office once---and I was sore for two weeks, and burning every time I cathed (with SPeediCaths).  There may be some reason to HAVE to use the old type, but I will never subject myself to one of those again if I can possibly avoid it!!!
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    • Posted

      Cartoonman,

      Had a similar experience.  Also started with a red rubber, and nurse told me to use each catheter for a week (wash them after use) even though my insurance allowed me a new catheter each time. I told her I want to use a new one each time as I am not big on doing laundry! Later, on my own, I switched to a hydrophillic and found them better in a number of ways. 

      That said, the red rubbers do have their place, especially if you do not have insurance to cover single use hydrophillics. The cost saving here is more than significant. It's also probably not bad idea to have one or two of them with you if you travel, so if you run out (or lose) your hydrophillics, one red rubber could last a week or more until you get more stock. Lastly, you can roll a red rubber up in your pocket which can't really do with most of the hydrophillics. 

      Overall,  if you have insurance and/or can afford it, then at least try the hydrophillics. 

      Jim

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    • Posted

      You raise some good points, Jim.  If one isn't insuraed, yes, something to consider.  And my dad used the red rubber ones 8 or so years back with no problems.  WIth me, my two times were like The Spanish Inquisition!  UGH! 

      True. about being able to roll the red guys up.  But knowing of the possibilities of contamination, esp. when traveling, I would be loathe to trust that I'd really sterilized them.

      Also, those straight SpeediCaths do roll up enough to pocket them!  That said, I prefer just prefer shoving them up my jeans leg, then dropping them into my sock.  Especially useful when I'm doing a gig, and may not be able to carry one in another fashion.  

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