Starting intermittent catheterization - Men (Video)

Introduction to Intermittent Catheterization (IC)

This video offers a brief introduction to intermittent catheterization (IC) for men  - a method for managing bladder emptying issues. It covers the benefits, who can use it, and getting started.

View the video above or read the transcript below.

You may be reading this article because you're just starting to self-catheterize. When you’re having problems emptying your bladder completely, intermittent catheterization is often considered the best option. Many people self-catheterize every day, many more than you might think. You're not alone. 
Intermittent catheterization or IC involves emptying your bladder regularly with a hollow tube, a catheter.

The catheter is inserted in your urethra, which is the tube between the bladder and the exit, and into your bladder, allowing the urine to flow down the catheter and out. It may feel like a strange sensation to catheterize, but it shouldn’t be painful to insert or remove.

There are many benefits of IC, as by emptying your bladder completely, and done regularly it will help prevent UTIs, and reduce kidney damage, maintaining good bladder health. Other positive factors may be that it reduces urine leakage, frequent urges to urinate and the need to get up at night to go to the toilet, whilst having the freedom to maintain your sex life if you wanted to.

It’s also important you learn a good technique and use the right equipment. Both will help you avoid infections or other complications. Our health depends on emptying our bladder regularly. It's one of the ways that the body gets rid of waste.

Many adults and children do IC regularly, even those who may have limited mobility or coordination issues. It is quite usual to feel a little anxious or worried when starting something new for the first time, but with practice and support you will soon become more confident with intermittent catheterization. It will soon become a natural part of your daily routine. It can be done anywhere you would normally want to empty your bladder, which means you can travel or work or just get on with your life, with one less thing to worry about.

The number of times you catheterize will vary individually and depend upon fluid intake. Your clinician will advise you on the right regime for you. Selecting a suitable catheter, based on informed knowledge of what is available, is important as is choosing a catheter that is right for you, as not all catheters are suitable for everyone.

•    Taking the long-term perspective is as important as getting a good start.
•    The surface of the catheter is important.
•    The surface of the catheter is in direct contact with the urethra during each catheterization.

A smooth, well lubricated, hydrophilic-coated surface can make a difference, especially when used for a long time. LoFric is a single-use hydrophilic-coated catheter, adapted to the natural conditions of the urethra that minimizes complications of catheterization, even after long term use. 

This is just a guide for you when having to consider doing IC and for information purposes only. Please always seek advice from your clinician first.