Do catheters hurt? Is catheter pain normal? No. Of course, when you’re brand new to using catheters, it may not feel immediately comfortable or natural to you. After all, you’re inserting a tube into your body to drain your bladder, and you’ve never had to do that before. But using an in-and-out catheter should not cause pain or serious discomfort.
The good news? Catheter pain doesn’t have to be the norm. Here are some helpful answers and tips to avoid painful catheterization.
Does a catheter hurt? Are catheters painful?
No, using a catheter should not feel painful when in-and-out catheterization is performed correctly. It should also not cause bleeding, burning, or other irritating symptoms.
Again, it may feel a little bit uncomfortable or unnatural in a way as you first begin learning how to use a catheter. However, many tens of thousands of people across the United States perform CIC (clean intermittent catheterization) every single day with no issue.
While it may not be easy for the first few tries, you should find that using catheters is not painful. With enough practice and time, catheter use may even start to feel like second nature.
How painful is a catheter for a male?
Using a male catheter should not hurt. Again, it may not be easy initially, but there should not be significant pain, resistance, or bleeding.
If you find it difficult or even impossible to insert a straight catheter due to pain, then you should not force the catheter. Call your prescribing doctor to discuss your difficulty with insertion.
A coudé (coude or curved) catheter may be a better option, as the curved or bent insertion tip may help bypass obstructions like urethral strictures, blockages due to an enlarged prostate, etc.
However, you should talk to your doctor. They have the ability to assess the situation and recommend another option.
Top 5 Tips to Help Reduce Catheter Pain
Using catheters doesn’t have to feel painful. Let’s address some of the possible causes of catheter pain and some tips that may help.
1. Use a catheter with polished eyelets.
What are catheter eyelets? Catheter drainage eyelets are the small holes near the insertion tip of your urinary catheter. Urine drains through these holes into the catheter tube. Then it drains out of the funnel end into a receptacle (urinal, toilet, or collection drain bag).
Some catheter manufacturers use a process similar to punching a
hole in a sheet of paper to create their catheter eyelets. This can create rough edges that sometimes create friction and discomfort in the urethra, which may be the cause of painful catheterization.
180 Medical carries plenty of intermittent catheter options with smooth, polished eyelets. For example, all GentleCath™ catheters are designed with recessed, polished drainage eyelets on a rounded insertion tip for maximum comfort and reduced urethral trauma.
2. Use lubrication with your uncoated catheters.
When using straight intermittent catheters, it’s important to lubricate them manually before each use. Catheter lubricating jelly helps reduce friction and discomfort during the insertion and withdrawal of your catheter. This may help reduce catheter pain.
Every individual’s anatomy and preferences are different. While some people don’t need much lubrication, others may require more for comfortable in-and-out cathing.
As the leading provider of intermittent catheters and related urological products, 180 Medical provides high-quality brands of lubricating jelly to suit your needs, including bacteriostatic and kosher options. Whether you prefer your catheter lube in a tube or perfectly dosed single-use packets, we can supply it.
3. If straight catheters feel too painful or difficult to insert, you might need a coudé tip catheter.
Why are coudé catheters necessary for some people? 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, making it difficult for a straight 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.
Never force your catheter, which can cause more pain or even injury. Painful cathing due to a straight tip may require a coudé tip catheter.
4. Get the right catheter material.
There’s a reason for all those different catheter options on the market. One catheter that works for one person may not work for someone else, including catheter materials. Whether you need a DEHP-free option, POBE, PVC plastic, red rubber latex, or something else, 180 Medical has what you need.
Plus, if you’re experiencing itching or rashes when using a latex catheter, you might have a latex allergy. This is rare but can be more common in people with certain medical conditions like spina bifida. If you suspect this may be the issue, contact your doctor.
180 Medical is sensitive to your needs, so we make it a point to stock various latex-free catheter products.
5. Switch to another catheter type, brand, or French size.
Finding the right catheter for you doesn’t have to be a costly or complicated journey. 180 Medical makes it so easy!
You can try free catheter samples at 180 Medical, so you can figure out what catheter type and brand feel best for your individual needs so you can comfortably catheterize.
If you’ve been using one type of catheter for many years, you may be happy to hear that all kinds of catheter options are available to help reduce urethral pain.
Additional benefits of using advanced catheter products exist, such as a potentially reduced risk of UTIs (urinary tract infections). For example, you may be interested in products like hydrophilic catheters, closed system catheters, pre-lubricated catheters, and compact pocket catheters.
Just a few of the many advanced technology catheters that 180 Medical has in stock include:
SpeediCath Compact Set
This closed system catheter is small and discreet for easy carrying. It also comes ready to use. 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 Coloplast SpeediCath Compact Set is that the catheter comes with its own collection bag. This is 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
The GentleCath Glide, also available for both men and women, is one of the newer catheter products on the market. It’s quickly becoming a popular option for those who want a hydrophilic catheter that is easy to use and potentially minimizes the risk of UTIs.
Plus, it makes catheterization smooth and comfortable from inserting the catheter until withdrawal. Just pop the included water sachet to activate the hydrophilic properties with FeelClean™ technology, and it’s ready to go!
Are You Still Experiencing Catheter Pain?
For first-time users, you may initially feel some slight discomfort while your body adjusts. You may get over that hurdle once you get used to the sensation.
However, if you continue experiencing painful cathing or experience any bleeding, please talk to your doctor before trying any solutions on your own. Above, all, never force your catheter.
Our Catheter Specialists are ready to help you find a comfortable catheter that will work best for your needs. Contact 180 Medical now or call us at 1-877-688-2729 to get started.
Why do people need to use catheters?
If you’ve been prescribed in-and-out catheterization, and you’re not looking forward to the idea of using a catheter, you may wonder: why do I need to use a catheter in the first place?
Thousands of people use catheters painlessly every day. Some people may have to use them permanently, but others may only use catheters temporarily.
Sometimes, the bladder stops functioning normally, which can cause urine dribbling or leakage (urinary incontinence) or the bladder may start retaining urine (urinary retention). Some people use catheters due to living with a neurogenic bladder (nerve damage to the bladder) due to a spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, cauda equina syndrome, spina bifida, or another injury or surgery. Also, some men may need to use catheters due to issues like having prostate cancer surgery or living with an enlarged prostate (BPH).
Whether you need a catheter temporarily or long-term, 180 Medical is here for you. We can help you find a catheter that will feel best for your anatomy and feel easy to use.