Amidst the usual distractions of daily life, it can be straightforward to find reasons why adhering to a routine might be challenging. However, as an intermittent catheter user, maintaining your self-catheterisation routine could be one of the most crucial routines to adhere to, particularly since this regimen is prescribed by your healthcare professional. Here's some guidance to remember if you require assistance in keeping up with your cathing routine.
Essentials of a Cathing Routine
There are various reasons why you might need to employ intermittent catheters. Essentially, you've been advised to self-catheterise because there's an issue affecting how your bladder or detrusor muscle (the bladder wall) function, and your body requires some assistance to empty urine.
Depending on your condition, you might need to catheterise just once a day or multiple times a day. On average, individuals using intermittent catheters empty their bladders around 4 to 6 times a day. Be sure to consult your doctor or nurse. Your healthcare professional will assist you in determining how frequently you should be catheterising based on your specific condition, average fluid intake, and other health and lifestyle factors. Once all these considerations are factored in, your doctor can recommend a self-catheterisation routine that aligns with your needs.
Similar to establishing a habit around brushing your teeth, adhering to a regular self-cathing routine can offer multiple benefits.
Maintaining a consistent self-cathing routine may:
- Help decrease the risk of urine leakage from your bladder. Your bladder is a hollow muscle designed to expand as it fills and contract as it empties. Like other muscles, overstretching the bladder can weaken it and lead to dysfunction, resulting in urine leakage. Without a structured cathing schedule, there's a risk of overfilling or overstretching the bladder. Over time, this could cause leakage or urinary incontinence.
- Reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). A UTI is an infection affecting any part of the urinary system, which includes the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. The urinary system's purpose is to eliminate waste from the body. Allowing urine to remain in the bladder for extended periods can encourage bacterial growth. More severe infections can develop when a lower urinary tract infection ascends to the kidneys.
- Empower you with a sense of control. Don't let intermittent catheters define you. Collaborating with your healthcare professional and understanding how often you should catheterise and when can enable you to refocus on your everyday life. Neglecting self-catheterisation or deviating from your prescribed routine may elevate the risk of complications within your urinary tract.
Speedy pointers to aid in adhering to your schedule:
- Set reminders with alarms. Once you've formulated your routine with your doctor or nurse, you can set up reminder alerts on your email calendar, mobile phone, and/or smartwatch. These alerts can be scheduled for a specific time or within a particular timeframe. Endeavor to avoid hitting the snooze button. These alarms can help ensure you don't miss your cathing time.
- Monitor your fluid intake. Especially during the initial phase of adopting your routine, it might be helpful to track the amount of liquid you consume. If you notice an increase in liquid intake, you might need to adjust your catheterisation frequency. Adapt if your daily activities differ. If you're embarking on a journey or altering aspects of your daily routine, make appropriate plans. You may need to identify restrooms or private spaces for self-catheterisation in advance.
Take it day by day. Any routine requires practice; don't give up. With each passing day, you'll develop the habit of catheterising around the same time. Similar to brushing your teeth, your cathing routine can seamlessly integrate into your everyday life.