Have you just been told you need to start using intermittent catheters, and now you're wondering how bad a catheter will hurt?
Or have you been self-cathing for a while but still find the catheterization process painful or just plain uncomfortable?
Whatever your reason for seeking help with catheter pain, know that there are many people who use catheters painlessly every day to treat their medical conditions like bladder retention or urinary incontinence, and that's a possibility for you too!
Of course, if you ever experience an abnormal amount of pain or bleeding during insertion, or if you encounter a blockage, it's important to never force your catheter. We suggest you discuss these issues with your treating healthcare professional as soon as possible.
However, sometimes it's simply a matter of finding the right urinary catheter product that will work best for your individual needs.
Find out some of the top solutions to make cathing smooth, comfortable, and practically pain-free!
Top 5 Ways to Make Using a Catheter Hurt Less
1. Use an Intermittent Catheter With Polished or Recessed Eyelets.
Drainage eyelets are the small holes near the insertion tip of your urinary catheter. Your urine drains through these holes, into the catheter tube, and out the end into your chosen receptacle like a toilet, urinal, or an attached collection bag.
Some catheter manufacturers use a process similar to punching a hole in a sheet of paper to create their catheter eyelets. This can result in rough eyelet edges that create drag and discomfort as the catheter is inserted and taken back out.
Fortunately, there are plenty of catheter options with smooth, polished eyelets, and these can greatly reduce friction on your delicate urethral tissue.
For example, GentleCath™ catheters are designed with recessed, polished drainage eyelets on a smooth, rounded insertion tip for maximum comfort and reduced urethral trauma.
If the catheter type you're currently using has any rough edges around the eyelets, this could very well be the source of your discomfort.
2. Use lubrication with your uncoated catheters.
When using straight intermittent catheters, it's important to make sure you're manually lubricating them before each use. Lubrication will reduce friction and discomfort as your catheter passes through the urethra to your bladder.
Of course, every person and each anatomy is different, so while some people don't need as much lubricating jelly, others may need more in order to have a truly comfortable catheterization.
As the leading provider of intermittent catheters and related urological products, 180 Medical carries many high-quality and reputable brands of lubricating jelly to suit your needs, including bacteriostatic and kosher options. Whether you prefer your catheter lubrication in a tube or perfectly dosed single-use packets, we can supply it.
3. Issues getting the catheter to insert? You may need a coudé tip catheter.
Why are coudé catheters necessary? This sort of curved insertion tip is only needed when straight tip catheters will not work.
This is usually due to medical conditions like urethral strictures or an enlarged prostate, which can make it difficult and even impossible for a straight tip catheter to bypass and navigate around to reach the bladder.
If you feel you're encountering a blockage or obstacle while trying to get your catheter fully inserted, it's best to speak to your urologist immediately so they can fully diagnose the problem and discuss whether you need a coudé tip catheter.
4. Experiencing itchiness or irritation after using a latex catheter? You may have a latex allergy.
Less than 1% of people in the US have a latex allergy. However, it is more common in people with certain medical conditions like spina bifida. Latex allergy development has also been associated with people who use latex urinary catheters.
If you suspect this may be the issue, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
180 Medical is sensitive to our customers' concerns and needs, so we make it a point to stock an incredibly wide variety of latex-free catheter products.
For those who prefer the softness and flexibility of red rubber latex catheters, there are many options we have available to try out, including soft catheters and silicone catheters.
5. Switch to a more advanced and modern catheter product.
Catheter technology continues to move forward, and many manufacturers are developing their urethral catheter products to be more efficient, comfortable, discreet, and convenient.
If you've been using one type of catheter for many years, you may be happy to hear that there are all kinds of options available that may reduce urethral pain.
There are additional benefits of using advanced catheter products like hydrophilic catheters, closed system catheters, pre-lubricated catheters, and compact pocket catheters, such as potentially minimizing the risk of UTIs (urinary tract infections).
Just a few of the many advanced technology catheters that 180 Medical has in stock include:
SpeediCath® Compact Set
Available in Male Length or Female Length
Not only is this closed system catheter small and discreet for easy carrying, it is ready to use as soon as you open it. The catheter's hydrophilic coating is pre-activated since it is housed inside its own sterile saline solution. The lubrication will be smooth and comfortable throughout catheterization. An additional bonus of the SpeediCath® Compact Set is that the catheter comes with its own collection bag, making this a great option for those who want a more comfortable catheter that's also great for travel and use in public restrooms.
GentleCath™ Glide Hydrophilic Catheter
Available in Male Length or Female Length
The GentleCath™ Glide is one of the newer catheter products on the market that is quickly becoming a popular option for those who want a hydrophilic catheter that is easy to use, potentially minimizes the risk of UTIs, and makes cathing super smooth and comfortable from the moment you insert the catheter until you withdraw it. Just pop the included water sachet to activate its low-friction hydrophilic coating featuring FeelClean™ technology, and it's ready to go!
LoFric Origo™ Hydrophilic Catheter
Available in Male Length, Pediatric Length, and with Coudé Tip
The LoFric Origo™ has a hydrophilic coating with Urotonic™ surface technology that is activated by its own included sterile saline solution. Just as its name suggests, this catheter offers you an ultra low-friction cathing experience. An additional bonus is that the packaging is foldable and discreet, and it also doubles as a disposal bag for maximum privacy once you've finished cathing.
Still Experiencing Catheter Pain?For first-time users, there may be some slight discomfort at first as your body adjusts to this new process of catheterization. However, if you continue feeling pain when cathing or if it even hurts too much to self-cath, please talk to your doctor before trying any other solutions on your own.
There may be underlying medical conditions if these suggestions don't help alleviate your catheter pain. We suggest speaking with your urologist to pinpoint the issue and to come up with a solution together that will work best for your needs.
If you need any help finding a catheter that may help reduce your discomfort during cathing, contact our specialists today!
Disclaimer: This blog is not to be taken as medical advice and is only intended to provide a general understanding of some of the product options that may reduce discomfort during intermittent catheterization. This information should not be used in place of any recommendations, prescribed treatment plans, or medical advice from your professional healthcare provider.
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