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Intermittent Catheters

Intermittent catheters are also called Nelaton, Robinson or in/out catheters. There are several types available with different features designed to make intermittent catheterisation easier depending on your circumstances

Intermittent catheters are used for the procedure known as intermittent catheterisation

More likely to suit you if...Less likely to suit you if...
  • You have a residual urine volume of more than 100ml
  • You (or your helper) find the idea of clean intermittent catheterisation (cic) acceptable
  • Your hand control is good enough to manage the required frequency of cic
  • Your memory and mental capacity are good enough to manage cic
  • You do not feel motivated to use the technique
  • Alternative non-invasive methods of managing your bladder are available

If you are having difficulty inserting the catheter at the entry point of your bladder don't force it! Instead, wiggle your toes. I know this sounds strange but it's the best advice I was given.

Jay age 56

Top Tips

  1. Look for catheters with smooth eyes
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  3. Lift up the toilet seat and lower your trousers and pants before washing your hands to begin with. I wipe down there with an anti-bacterial wipe before inserting. Ask your gp for a radar key.
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  5. Catheters can be disposed of using scented disposal bags (the sort used for disposing of feminine hygiene products or babies’ diapers).
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  7. I have found that extra urine flows at the end of the process by leaning backwards then forwards when standing. Experiment for yourself and I hope it works for you.
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  9. If you use water for IC (intermittent catheterisation) and you are flying, you may not be allowed to take your own water through security. A doctor’s letter can help with this but even that may not work! Allow plenty of time at the airport to purchase bottled water on the flight side of security.
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  11. Use compact type catheters when away from home e.g. at work.
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  13. When doing IC away from home you may need to take a small towel with you for washing hands/genitals
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  15. When travelling overseas - some catheter companies have a travel certificate (Medical Validation Certificate) that you can easily download from their website and fill in to use for customs staff or TSA officials at airports.
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  17. Not all intermittent catheters are made of PVC. There are more environmentally friendly catheters available that are PVC and phthalate free. They are POBE: Polyolefin based elastomer.
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  19. Shake the catheter a bit before removing it. Sometimes a few extra drops of urine will come out.
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  21. Handling catheters can be tricky- use a catheter with a sheath.
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  23. If you use catheters that need water for lubrication, take a bottle of water with you when away from home.
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  25. A small travel kettle may be useful if you wish to use boiled water for IC (intermittent catheterisation)
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  27. Some places use low energy light (which may not be as bright) be prepared for this and take a torch if you need light for IC (intermittent catheterisation) or ask for a standard light bulb
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  29. Women can use luke warm water to lubricate a non-coated catheter before use
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Incontinence can often be cured. Incontinence is a problem with one or more underlying causes that can often be cured or improved. Whatever your age seeking help is always advisable. Take the first step to getting help by contacting a health professional or continence organisation in your country.

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