What to expect when having a catheter fitted

When you’re told that you’ll need a catheter, it can feel quite overwhelming to begin with. And that’s totally normal! Just thinking about the procedure of getting your catheter fitted might be sending shivers down your spine. These feelings are often made worse by not being informed about the procedure. And that’s where we come in! This article will tell you everything you need to know about getting your catheter fitted.

BEFORE HAVING YOUR CATHETER FITTED

Your doctor or continence nurse will have a detailed conversation with you prior to getting your catheter fitted. This conversation will usually include a discussion about the reasons for your indwelling urinary catheter and why you’re getting a particular type of catheter fitted. You can find out more about the different types of catheters here. This conversation is also where you can ask any questions you might have. It might be a good idea to write your questions down as they pop into your head to make sure everything that was unclear has been cleared up before your catheter is inserted.

When it comes to the actual appointment where you get your catheter inserted, the doctor or continence nurse who are doing the procedure will be trying to keep everything as clean and sterile as possible to minimise the risk of infection. This means that they’ll clean the area around your urethra thoroughly before inserting the lubricating jelly, followed by the catheter.

DOES INSERTING A CATHETER HURT?

If it’s done properly, and a lubricating gel is used, inserting the catheter via your urethra shouldn’t be painful, although you might feel some discomfort. These lubricating gels come in syringes (don’t worry – no needles involved!). They’re specifically designed for catheterisation, so the gel coats the whole length of your urethra, making the process of inserting the catheter as smooth as possible. Many catheterisation gels also include some topical anaesthetic for even more comfort.

The doctor or continence nurse performing your catheterisation will usually give you a heads up when they’re about to insert the catheter. Try your best to stay relaxed – easier said than done, we know! Focus on your breathing and try taking some deep breaths. Read here for some useful breathing exercises recommended by the NHS. Your catheter will likely get connected to a drainage bag, which will start collecting urine as soon as your catheter is in your bladder. Your nurse will record how much urine drains out of your bladder after your catheter has been fitted. This is totally normal and for your medical notes, so don’t worry!

LOOKING AFTER YOUR CATHETER

Once your catheter is fitted and you’re at home, it’s super important to keep it well-secured at all times. This will make sure that you don’t experience any from your catheter rubbing against the delicate tissue inside your urethra. We offer a wide range of catheter fixation devices, so you can experiment and figure out what works best for you.

As well as effectively securing your catheter, it’s super important that you maintain good personal hygiene. The NHS recommends that you wash the skin at your catheter entry site with mild soap and water at least twice a day. It’s also recommended that you stay well-hydrated. Your urine should always be a pale, straw-like colour; if it’s any darker than that, it’s time to top up on the H2O.

WE'RE HERE FOR YOU!

We appreciate that all this information can feel quite intimidating, so if you have any questions at all about your catheter or how to care for it, our customer service team is always happy to try and help you out. Either drop us an email on hello@shop-optimum.com or give us a ring on 0113 263 3849.

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