Socializing With a Catheter

A catheter doesn’t have to keep you from having an active social life. With a little planning and these tips, you can hit the town (mostly) carefree.

Going out with a catheter might seem complicated—but there’s no need for you to stop having a social life. An intermittent catheter is meant to make it easier for you to enjoy your life. Here’s how to embrace your freedom—and not fret—when you’re out and about.

Know Before You Go

Attempting to skip a normal cath session could result in leaks and cause long-term harmful effects to your bladder. You don’t need a minute-by-minute agenda, but it’s helpful to have a loose plan for your outing and how catheriatizion will fit in. This is especially important so you can be sure that the places you are going to have a bathroom that works for you. It’s ok to be spontaneous—but you want to be sure you can still meet your basic needs. 

Schedule your activities so you can set aside time for catheterization (and be in the best place possible to do so). Catheterize at home as close to when you leave as possible, to maximize your time. And set a phone reminder, just in case you get wrapped up in the moment and lose track of time.

Pack up

Erase part of your worries by having all you need on hand. Pack a travel kit with all the necessary supplies—and a few extras. Include hand sanitizer and wipes, just in case the bathroom are in isn’t as clean or well equipped as you would like. 

If you’re going to a place where you don’t want to dispose of your catheter, say a friend’s house, be sure to bring along plastic bags (and a discreet way to store them) for you to take things home and discard later.

Dress for the Occasion

In your kit, you may want to include an extra set of clothes (or underwear). At the very least, a jacket or blazer to wrap around your waist can help disguise a leak. You might also consider opting for dark, more forgiving colors for the night. 

While you are getting used to your new schedule, you can also wear a pad or absorbent liner for extra protection. 

Pick your privacy

How much you want to share about your restroom needs is your choice. If you are going out with a group of friends, it might be helpful for someone to know about your situation so they can understand your schedule and help you navigate any issues that arise. It might seem extreme, but if need to call ahead and ask if the bathroom can accommodate your needs, it’s better than arriving to a less-than-ideal circumstances.

Needing to use catheter might seem limiting, but it provides you the opportunity to keep an active lifestyle. If you’re struggling to navigate the situation, consider joining support groups and finding a community so you can socialize and go out with fellow catheter users. You can connect over your needs, share stories, and you’ll always have a bathroom buddy.