Intermittent self catheterisation (ISC) is usually taught by a nurse. It is not a sterile technique but should be a clean one, so it is very important to have good hygiene standards. It is also important that people receive plenty of information before learning how to do it. Good communication skills can facilitate the learning experience. The head of a local continence service explained everything very clearly before she showed Peter how to pass a catheter.
The nurse showed Peter all the products that were available for ISC. She talked about hygiene and explained the process with the help of a leaflet.
Initially Peter felt a little faint when he tried to do ISC because he said it was ‘an unusual sensation’, but he soon got used to it.
Peter recalls the first time he was shown how to do ISC. He found ISC very helpful because it allowed him to fully drain his bladder.
It is important that the person teaching ISC takes a friendly and relaxed approach to reduce embarrassment and anxiety. Betty was aged 63 when she first learnt how to do ISC. She said she was taught by a wonderful nurse.
Betty recalls how she learnt ISC. The nurse was kind and very understanding.
Peter explains how the nurse put him at his ease when she taught him how to self catheterise.
Some of the women we spoke to found doing ISC difficult at first. Jade, for example, said she didn’t know if she was inserting the catheter in the right place. With practice though, ‘you could do it with your eyes closed.’ Jade was diagnosed with Fowler’s Syndrome when she was 13. Fowler’s Syndrome is the commonest cause of urinary retention in young women. The problem is caused by the sphincter’s failure to relax to allow urine to be passed normally. The urethral sphincter is the muscle that keeps people continent. Jade had a urethral catheter, a suprapubic catheter and now uses an intermittent catheter.
Jade got stressed the first time she tried to catheterise. The catheter is in a saline solution…
Jennifer, who was also diagnosed with Fowler’s Syndrome, had many urinary tract infections (UTIs) and, at the age of 19, found she could not pass urine. At first she tried self catheterisation and then a urethral catheter.
ISC was a scary prospect at first and hard to do. Being taught how to do it properly and shown…
Carol was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2003. This had invaded her bladder and bowel. After several operations she had a urethral catheter, once for four months because of a perforated bladder. Sometimes she has to self catheterise because she has urinary retention.
Carol’s bladder function is erratic. She finds a lubricated catheter easiest to use. Finding out…
In 2007 Faye became ill and found it impossible to pass urine. She used intermittent catheterisation until 2009 and then had an indwelling urethral catheter for a while. She now has a suprapubic catheter but hasn’t yet got a diagnosis.
Faye didn’t want to be taught ISC by a male nurse. She found it hard to catheterise because of…
Sometimes people find it impossible to self catheterise. Sharon started having urinary problems after a difficult forceps delivery. She found it hard to pass urine and had urine infections. Later, when she found it impossible to pass urine, she had to have a suprapubic catheter inserted, which she has had ever since.