Establishing a Healthy Urinary Catheter Routine

Effective bladder management is easy once you set a routine that prevents complications and infections. Here are our tips for making catheterization a regular part of your life. Find out who we are and how we can help you save money on catheters and catheter supplies.

As you transition into intermittent catheterization (IC), it’s important to establish a daily routine. A regular practice will help prevent infections and complications—and take some of the anxiety out of your bladder management. Once you get into the swing of things, intermittent catheterization will feel as normal as any other part of your day.

Define your schedule

Planning a schedule can ensure you have plenty of time and all the necessary supplies when it’s time to cath. Try creating a chart or diary or set digital calendar appointments or alarms to make it extra easy to remember. Most people will cathertize 4-6 times per day but follow your healthcare professionals advice to find the right intervals for you. If possible, integrate catheterization into natural breaks in your daily activities—like getting dressed in the morning or when you take a lunch.

If you miss a scheduled catheterization, don’t wait for your next session—cath as soon as possible to prevent infections caused by urine sitting in the bladder.

Track your output

It’s important to fully empty your bladder to help prevent leakage and infections. Typically you should void a volume of no more than 2 cups or 400mL to prevent overstretching the bladder and leakage. As you begin your routine, measure the amount of urine you collect and discuss with your healthcare professional if you should be catheterizing more or less often based on your measurements. After that, periodically measure your output to be sure nothing has changed or needs to be adjusted.

Plan Ahead

The advantage of intermittent catheterization is that you can go out and enjoy your life. The key is ensuring you’ll be able to stick to your routine no matter where you are—and that can require a little foresight. Think about where and how you can fit catheterization in to the activities you might have planned.

If you can, plan to catheterize as close to when you’ll need to leave your home as possible. Then think about the bathroom situation where you will be (you can even call ahead if you want to be sure the space can accommodate). Set an alarm for when you’ll need to cath while you are out—so you don’t get carried away and lose track of time.

Pack the essentials

If you’re out, it’s important to make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need. More than likely, you won’t be in a place as clean or as well-equipped as your own home. Pack all the necessary supplies (and perhaps an extra set or change of clothes just in case). If you don’t want to bring additional clothes, some people prefer to wear darker colors or have a sweater or wrap in case of leaks as they get used to the process.

Keep It Clean

Most importantly you’ll want to follow your same hygiene rules no matter where you are. Catheters are more likely to pick up bacteria, which can end up in your bladder if you aren’t practicing good hygiene.

Wash your hands before and after IC to help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). And be sure to wash your hands often to mitigate the amount of germs you are introducing into your system. Then clean your genital area with soap and water (or a moist towelette), wiping the area front to back, and drying with a clean pad or towel. You should not touch anything except for your catheter after you wash your hands, so you might want to pack additional supplies—like hand sanitizing gel or wipes in case you need to touch a door handle or handrail to get situated. 

Once your routine is established, you should still meet periodically with your healthcare professional, as your medical condition may change or there might be new products and solutions to fit your needs. 

And of course, your medical provider might have more tailored recommendations for your specific situation. Be sure to follow any guidelines they provide.

At Medipply, our mission is to make purchasing and using catheters easier. Find out how we make the process of buying catheters and supplies more user-friendly. In a few easy steps, we can help you purchase catheters with insurance, connect you with the providers you prefer, and streamline the process of getting the medical supplies you need. Have questions? Check out our list of frequently asked questions and learn about how Medipply can help.