New To Catheterization & Have Concerns

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I am considering having a TURP but want to try self catheterizing to see if I can postpone or avoid the TURP. I would appreciate any information as to what to expect, avoid and employ (size, shape, and brand of catheters) as well as any suggestions as to method of insertion (things to do and things to avoid doing).

I am scheduled to have my urologists nursing assistant show me how to insert a catheter in a week or so and would like to go into that session as informed as possible. I would greatly appreciate anyone who has had or is having catheter experience to share any words of wisdom with me.

Worried in Colorado

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  • Posted

    I have been self cathing for over two years. It has become second nature. There is a lot of information available on the catheter manufacturers' websites. There are also videos on YouTube. If you search for self catheterization or clean intermittent catheterization on the internet, you will find a lot of information. There is nothing to be overly concerned with. That said, I injured myself the first couple of attempts. Catheters are made with different materials and tip designs. I found the straight tip latex and soft plastic catheters work best for me. My injuries were from using stiffer plastic coude tip catheters. Some catheters are pre-lubricated or hydrophilic. The catheter manufacturers and distributors will provide samples, once you have a prescription. Try different catheters until you find the ones you like best.

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  • Posted

    Hi Barry,

    I was in your position 5 years ago. My BPH symptons were very bad and I was told I needed a TURP. To say I was worried was an understatement. Fortunately, the medical center was up to date and their protocol in cases like mine was either to Foley the patient for six weeks prior to the TURP or teach the patient to self cath. The reason, based on studies, was that during that six week period the bladder could get a rest and potentially rehabilitate to the point where the TURP would be more successful.

    A very long story short, by the time it came time to do the TURP, the self cathing (CIC) was working so well for me that I cancelled the TURP. I have been doing CIC ever since.

    I started CIC 6x/day and over time my bladder got better to the point where today I don't have to self cath every day, and at times I have gone months without it. To be clear, I wouldn't go into CIC with the expectation of being able to go off it, but many of us have observed some degree of improvement with bladder function because of CIC.

    Many here took to CIC like a duck to water with no issues. In my case, I had a very rough first month. There a a couple of self cath threads I started that will detail things more. But happily to say, in spite of my rough start, within months CIC because as routine and painless as brushing my teeth, just didn't take as long 😃

    If your insurance will cover it, I recommend single use hydrophillic catheters. Less friction. A very good starting catheter is the Coloplast Speedicath Coude model in size FR14. That's what I started with and then after some practice dropped down a size to FR12. CIC is very easy to learn but technique does help and again, you should check some of the CIC threads.

    CIC isn't for everyone, but for me, and some others here, it has changed my life, as profoundly as any of the stories you read with different successful surgeries, including TURP. And it did so, without some of the risks and side effects such as retrograde (dry) ejaculation. It's not a big deal to many men, but it is to others. If you've never experienced retro ejaculation, your urologist can give you a pill like Flomax to simulate it temporarily.

    I see absolutely nothing to lose by trying CIC prior to TURP or any procedure, but try and give it at least 3 months, because again, the beginning can be rough in some cases. But then again, recovery from surgery can be rough for some as well. If you decide CIC is not for you, then you can always revisit TURP or some of the other less invasive procedures. But if it works out for you like it did for me, it will be a real life changer. Please free to ask any question.

    Jim

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    • Posted

      Jim, I took your advice and uesd the Coloplast Speedicath catheters for 3 years, resulting in very frequent bleedings.

      I was about to give up cic 9 months ago and go for hoLEP, then someone on this forum suggested Cure catheters. They are much much softer and comfortable so I haven't bled since.

      I wished I didn't start with Coloplast Speedicath. I think they are too stiff, can cause injury more easily.

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    • Posted

      Actually my usual advice is to try several types of catheters. I tried about a dozen, including Cure Catheters, until I settled on the Coloplast Speedicath Coude. I will also say, from observation here, that most who have used the Speedicath like it. I am happy you finally found a catheter you like.

      Jim

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    • Posted

      great post jim. my only add would be to say you could start small and work up. I bought two or three in sizes 8 10 12 and worked my way up starting with the eight. 12 was good. the smaller ones were to whippy. this was a with a speedicath straight tip. hydrophilic.

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    • Posted

      Hi Moto,

      You said, "...my only add would be to say you could start small and work up...

      The reason I recommend starting with FR14 and working down is because FR12 is significantly more "bendy" and can be difficult for beginners, esp when trying the no-touch "dive bomb" method I talked about in the self cath threads. The idea is to use the smallest size catheter that "works" as smaller size should equal less friction. FR14 is sort of in the middle so you can work up and down depending on how it works. If FR14 is too bendy, or otherwise won't go in, then move up. If it works fine, then go down. That said, more than one way to skin the cat, and I'm glad you found your own way.

      Jim

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  • Posted

    I'll start out by saying that it's good that you're putting off getting a TURP. My original urologist told me that it was the only way that he could address my BPH (I was retaining urine and had already started catheterizing). He started out by saying: "you'll never ejaculate again". What he was saying of course was that the TURP procedure would most likely result in the ejaculate going into my bladder instead of out. Instead of getting a bipolar TURP as he was suggesting, I opted to catheterize for several months while I researched my options. About 9 or 10 months later, I had a Rezum procedure done, with excellent results, no Retrograde Ejaculation, etc.

    As to the use of catheters, I was instructed in the urologist's office by a lady PA who did an excellent job of explaining how to use catheters and avoid any UTIs. I don't believe that this site allows links to be posted, but if you google " how to insert speedicath", there is a good video that should be helpful. I found the Speedicath with coude tips to work perfectly for me, but if you ask 10 guys on here, you will get 10 different opinions about which catheter is best.

    Don't be afraid of using catheters. If you're careful, there shouldn't be any pain. Best of luck to you.

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  • Posted

    I agree with most of what has been said here. I am 83 years old, and about a year ago my urologist recommended the TURP procedure, as I was retaining way too much in my bladder after urination (about 250cc).

    After several months of research, and some very helpful advise and information from the CIC-community on this site, I decided to Try CIC, and it has worked out well for me.

    I started out with FR12 coude-tip reusable catheters, and have stayed with them. Initially, I was catheterizing 5-6 times a day, but have reduced the number to 3-4: once upon arising in the morning, once before retiring at night (and I never have to get up at night), and once or twice during the day.

    I seldom give it a second thought now, as the 2-3 minute procedure is so simple. Care must be taken with hygiene, but that's been no problem. I use antibacterial liquid soap, Betadine, and rubbing alcohol; the latter injected into the large end of the catheter with an earwax syringe, just before I hang them up to dry.

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  • Posted

    Barry,

    I would recommend the red rubber/latex re-usable catheters to start with they are the softest, most flexable and least abrasive. Bard makes a good one called GentleCath. Bleeding and UTI are very common when first starting to cath, so you should do everything possible to avoid abrasion to the urethra. You have to self lubricate the rubber re-usable catheters, with water soluble lube, and they are very flexible, so you have to insert them with your fingers, which means you fingers must be very clean. My Urologist recommended size 16 in the red rubber, which I still use occasionally, but the 14 or 12 may be easier to get in the first time. You will probably end up using what ever you Urologist's office has the first time, but they will probably use the red rubber type. Collect the urine in a measuring cup. If it turns cloudy or smells bad those are signs of infection so get help immediately, probably an antibiotic. Rising temperature is also a sign of infection. Be aware of after hours, weekends, and holidays when Urologist's offices and urgent care facilities may be closed. If possible get an after hours phone number from your urologist.

    After you have done CIC for a few days to a week you can try some of the stiffer pre-lubed plastic catheters.

    Good luck,

    Thomas

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    • Posted

      Just to 2nd the softer and more flexible red rubber/latex re-usable catheters. That is what I have been using. Because they are reusable, I always soak them in alcohol before and after every use to sterilize them and I never had a UTI. Let the catheter air dry a minute or so before lubing and inserting or else you may feel the alcohol a bit.

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    • Posted

      Steven, I love what you are doing, reusing catheters. It's good for our planet. Just curious in what device you use to soak them with alcohol, and how often you change the alcohol.

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    • Posted

      Hank,

      .

      Thanks, I've spent a lot of years being good for our planet, having work as a scientist in wind energy for close to 20 years. I soak the catheters in a very old glass mayonnaise jar (28 oz?) with a plastic top. For a long time now, you can only get mayonnaise in plastic jars.

      .

      Before the catheter goes in the jar, I wash it with soap and water as instructed by the urology nurse so it is pretty clean before the alcohol soak and it takes a while for the alcohol to look even slightly cloudy. When it does, I run it through a paper coffee filter and it is clear again.

      .

      After my BPH ordeal, I stopped drinking coffee so I have lots of coffee filters. I still drink beer though 🍺

      .

      Steve

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    • Posted

      Steve, just to be clear, does it mean that you don't replace the alcohol, just filtering it ? I think I'll try it out. I will look for a glass jar. Even the catheters are free, I hate it every time I emptied my used catheter bag. Thanks.

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    • Posted

      Correct, I don't replace the alcohol, I just filter it. I add alcohol more to the jar as the level goes down. I also quickly dip the lube tube and the forceps that I use to get the catheter out so everything that I touch is sterile. The lube tube tends to use up more alcohol. I also wash with antibacterial liquid soap as directed by the urology nurse. Everything is very clean and sterile so I don't get UTI's.

      .

      S

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    • Posted

      Steve,

      Do you let the catheter soak in the alcohol between uses? If so, is there any possibility that continuous contact with the alcohol could dry the rubber out, possibly leading to some of it flaking off, and possibly shortening the usage-life of the catheter? When you filter the alcohol, have you ever noticed any rubber particles that might be a result of this?

      As mentioned in a previous post, I use an earwax syringe to inject alcohol into the catheter after washing it with antibacterial soap. I then hang it up to dry, ready for the next insertion.

      I keep 6-8 catheters in the rotation, and discard them after about one month.

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    • Posted

      Charles,

      .

      No I do not keep the catheter in the alcohol jar between uses for the reason that you gave of the rubber trying out. After soaking for about a minute, I air dry the catheter on a paper towel and then put it in a plastic bag as instructed by the urology nurse.

      .

      No, I have not seen rubber particles.

      .

      On the side, I like your idea of the earwax syringe as I can get significant ear wax buildup every few months and I currently use one of those rubber bulb ear wax cleaners and I have seen the syringes but never got one.

      .

      Steve

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