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If you are interested in getting more background information, the following page may help you to better understand the intermittent catheterisation:

what is intermittent catheterisation?

Intermittent catheterisation involves the repeated drainage of the bladder through a thin disposable catheter. It is generally required four to six times a day depending on liquid intake.

how is intermittent catheterisation performed?

The use of a disposable catheter for the bladder should be an aseptic process, particularly in the case of pre-existing paralysis of the bladder. Aseptic means sterile materials should be used, the entrance to the urethra should be disinfected, a sterile lubricant should be used and it requires the sterile insertion of the catheter. A distinction is made between (intermittent) catheterisation assisted by others, such as parents, relatives or nursing services, and self-administered catheterisation, which the user does by him or herself. A series of very small kits containing all the required components (catheter, urine bag, swabs etc.), are available. Using these kits, intermittent catheterisation is possible virtually anywhere. Please note: a catheter should only be used once.

what does the ideal catheter look like?

There is not one ideal catheter for all. The ideal catheter for a user is the result of the perfect combination of adequate catheter tip, catheter eyes, diameter and hydrophilic coating or lubricating gel. But what ultimately counts is having maximum safety and maximum comfort.

why do doctors recommend intermittent catheterisation?

Intermittent catheterisation is a simple method of draining the bladder gently and without causing damaging pressure, thus providing the greatest possible protection for the kidneys. This type of drainage can also be stopped at any time. In contrast to intermittent catheterisation, any type of surgery – which would be the alternative - involves an element of risk and in most cases irreversible changes. For children, intermittent catheterisation has the advantage that the difficult decision whether or not to undergo surgery can be postponed until they are old enough to make the decision themselves. For adults, intermittent catheterisation can be used to empty the bladder until paralysis is stable without any further retrogression. Surgery should only be considered in this situation.

when and how often is it required?

This depends on the daily liquid intake, or more precisely on the daily quantity of urine excreted. When using intermittent catheterisation, the bladder is generally emptied 4-6 times a day. Intermittent catheterisation can be carried out at specific times to begin with, but the feeling of a full bladder should not be suppressed for too long. Users get experienced in the right time to empty his or her bladder. However, the quantity of urine excreted should not exceed 500 ml at any one time.

what are the advantages of intermittent catheterisation?

Experience with a large number of patients has shown intermittent catheterisation is the safest and most effective way to empty the bladder if normal drainage is not possible. It does not damage the kidneys or lead to an increase in urinary tract infections. This is why intermittent catheterisation is often recommended for the treatment of existing kidney damage or in cases of repeated bladder infections. When carried out correctly, there is no risk of injury to the urethra. Furthermore, when intermittent catheterisation is done under aseptic conditions and using a disinfectant lubricant, there is no significant increase in the risk of bladder infections.