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Cathing Myths

Get the facts about some of the most common myths about intermittent cathing.

Debunking the Myths About Cathing

Sometimes there is confusion around using intermittent catheters (IC) and it may be challenging to know what to listen to and what to ignore. Here are some of the unfortunate myths you may hear but let us share the facts.

In general, staying hydrated is essential for keeping the body functioning at its optimal level. It also helps flush out bacteria and toxins from your system. Whether you’re new to self cathing or have been cathing for some time, at no point should you drastically alter your daily intake of fluids. The body will continuously produce urine as you eat and drink, a process that slows during sleep, so we make the most urine during the waking hours.

You may think the less you drink, the fewer times you have to self-cath throughout the day. However, it is so important to not deprive your body of fluids. On average, it is recommended to drink around 6-8 8oz glasses of fluid per day1. Some people will need more and others less.

Learn more about the importance of staying hydrated here.

1. EFSA (2010) Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for water. EFSA Journal 8(3):1459

For many people, cathing may feel uncomfortable at first. This does not mean you are doing it wrong. There will be an adjustment period as your body gets used to inserting the catheter. There is no set time frame for when your body will adjust, but once it feels like second nature, you should still be gentle and careful to prevent any damage. If discomfort continues, worsens or you experience any bleeding, consult with your nurse immediately.  

It is also important to know you are cathing with the right products. Catheter sizes will vary from person to person. Using the incorrect catheter size could affect your cathing routine, comfort level and effectiveness to empty your bladder. You and your doctor can determine together what size and length catheter may best suit your individual needs. Your doctor should take into consideration your preferences as well as your particular anatomy.

While long trips or going out to dinner may seem like a daunting task for intermittent catheter users, both are absolutely possible. With a little extra planning and practice, you can socialize with friends and family or take the trip of a life time.

Feeling comfortable cathing in a public setting can help give you confidence to go wherever you want, whenever you want. Here are two great articles to help make that process easy and discreet.

  1. Tips for Cathing in a Public Restroom
  2. How to Travel with Intermittent Catheters

It is also important to maintain the recommended approach you and your doctor have determined for your self-cathing routine.

Practice makes perfect. Travel with confidence and don't let intermittent cathing stop you for doing all the things that make you, you. 

Using an intermittent catheter will not deteriorate your condition or cause you to need a permanent, or indwelling catheter. In fact, it can help keep your bladder healthy, preventing stretching or further damage and is often an alternative to a permanent fixture.

It is important to know, that if you do not self-catheterise per the guidance from your nurse, you may find that you start to leak urine when your bladder becomes too full. Whether you're self-cathing forever or only for a certain amount of time, choosing not to self-catheterise means you're leaving urine in your bladder for a long period of time, which can lead to a distended bladder or a urinary tract infection. 

Learn more about the effects of not using an intermittent catheter when prescribed.

Using intermittent catheters is not related to losing your virginity. Remember, the reasons for using intermittent catheters can vary, but fundamentally, it means your body may need a little help to drain urine. The urinary system, made up of your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra, is responsible for draining waste in your body which is eventually eliminated as urine.

For men, the urethra is part of both the urinary system and reproductive system. However, the self-cathing process is separate from sexual intercourse with a partner.

For women, the urethra is only part of the urinary system. The female urethra is separate from the reproductive system, which includes the hymen and vagina. Regardless of how you define losing your virginity, intermittent catheters are only to be inserted into the urethra. It is important to understand the proper use of intermittent catheters to ensure your are draining your bladder properly and to help reduce the risk of infections. 

Learn more about urethral health here.

Learn more about UTI basics here.

This is a common belief, but intermittent catheterisation is not directly correlated with age. There are many reasons why someone may need to use intermittent catheters but "old age" is not one of them.

Sometimes it’s due to a physical problem. Sometimes it’s because of a problem related to brain signals, known as ‘neurogenic bladder’. There are a range of conditions, but intermittent catheters are recommended to help take back control from urinary incontinence - regardless of age. For some intermittent catheter users it's only for a short time and for some it's for life.

Learn more about some of the most common conditions that can lead to using an intermittent catheter (IC).

Enroll in me+™ or Request Product Samples

The me+™ support program offers tools to help make life as a catheter user completely your own. Enroll in me+™ or request free product samples. Experience the latest technology and discover answers to the most commonly asked cathing questions.

Adjusting to cathing can be tough with a range of practical, physical and emotional challenges. You don't have to figure it out alone.

Speak to one of our friendly product specialists today.

Call 0800 587 7560 (Monday - Friday: 9AM - 5PM).

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