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Catheterization Concerns and Solutions

What Are Concerns and Solutions with Catheterization?

Intermittent catheterization was first used in 1970 as a home, nonsterile self-technique. Its effectiveness and safety have since been proven. It is used worldwide by thousands of people use the technique to manage bladder function.

Catheter Issues

Urine Leaking

The catheter may not be inserted far enough, may be blocked, or the bladder may be having a spasm.

No Urine During Catheterization

  • The catheter may not be inserted far enough (especially in boys).
  • Your child may not be drinking enough fluids.
  • The catheter may be blocked.
  • Urine may already have leaked out.

Blood in the Catheter

It usually indicates a mild bladder or urethral irritation. It will usually clear by itself. If blood persists or is associated with trouble passing the catheter, contact your doctor. You should never have to force a catheter into the bladder. Lubricate the catheter with water soluble lubrication to reduce urethral trauma.

Worried about Pushing the Catheter in Too Far

  • You cannot puncture a hole through the bladder. It is a very strong, tough muscle. The catheter will just coil up inside the bladder if it is pushed in too far.
  • You should never force the catheter if you meet resistance and are unable to pass the catheter into your child’s bladder.
  • If your child has had bladder surgery, your doctor or nurse will give you instructions on how far the catheter may be inserted. This technique should be learned only under the supervision of a nurse or nurse practitioner.

Unable to Insert the Catheter

  • If you feel resistance at the internal sphincter (muscle), the parent or patient should apply firm, gentle and steady pressure until the muscle relaxes and allows the catheter to pass.
  • If you are unable to insert the catheter at home, call your primary doctor’s office right away, or go to the nearest urgent care or hospital emergency room.

Catheterization During School Hours

Get a watch with an alarm on it or have your child write a secret message to themself and tape it on a desk or lunch box as a reminder. Tell the teacher so that your child can have silent permission to leave the classroom to go to the bathroom at the scheduled time. The school or school nurse may need a note from your doctor.

Positive Urine Culture

Most people who catheterize have bacteria in their bladders and still feel well. The presence of bacteria alone does not mean an active infection is present. If the urine culture is positive and your child is feeling well, treatment may not be necessary.

Constipation and the Urinary Tract

Constipation may be a problem and may make catheterization harder. If constipated, the bladder does not have enough room to function properly. Let your doctor know if this is a continuing problem.

Last Updated 12/2023

Reviewed By Victoria Mooney, RN II

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