Using a catheter for the first time can be daunting. It can also be frustrating.
All it takes is one spilled bag to make you feel completely incompetent. Even asking for help can feel like an impossible endeavor. Urology supplies aren’t a rare resource, however, and this is a skill you can develop in due time. More and more Americans today are finding themselves in need of free intermittent catheters, whether due to age or a recent accident. Instead of feeling at a loss for what to do next, arm yourself with useful knowledge by reading the list below.
Free catheters are available to help you practice the maintenance necessary to keep you healthy. Let’s take a look.
Urinary incontinence affects millions of people today. Sometimes it’s caused by age, other times it’s caused by illness or the aftermath of an accident. Hospitals and clinics are both well-versed in the general upkeep that goes into keeping accidents at bay. For some individuals, however, even cleaning out a catheter can be a monumental task — in all states one out of 25 adults face work limitations due to arthritis. It’s also common for men over the age of 60 to have some degree of BPH (or benign prostatic hyperplasia).
The catheter is far from a new invention. For over 3,500 years urinary catheters have been used to drain the bladder and keep individuals safe from various diseases. Free intermittent catheters are one of today’s most common medical resources and can be used in both hospital settings and at home. According to a recent medical study, between 15% to 25% of hospitalizations will require the placement of a foley catheter. This is an indwelling catheter that helps pass urine through the bladder during a stay at a hospital or an extensive surgery.
For some, urinary incontinence is inevitable. The likelihood of this issue increases with age, from 15% of all individuals between the ages of 65 and 70 to 45% in those over the age of 85. Common signs of urinary incontinence include an increased risk of UTIs, constant leaking, a lack of bladder control, and various other symptoms. While urological supplies are simple enough to use, failing to maintain them properly can actually make this condition worse. Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed with kidney disease or are facing mild urinary incontinence, consistency is key.
Failing to use your catheters correctly can expose you to several issues. The most common type of healthcare-associated infection today is the CAUTI, or Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infection. A UTI is caused when bacteria enters the urinary tract, causing extreme pain while urinating and potentially infecting the kidneys if not checked. If kidney disease reaches the point where a person has less than 15% kidney function, a kidney transplant will be necessary for them to remain healthy. This can be avoided with regular upkeep (in which a schedule might help you keep track).
The most important tip on this list is to clean your leg bag every day and replace it when told by a doctor or nurse. This is usually twice per month or once every week, though this can vary depending on the severity of your condition. Empty your leg bag once it becomes half full (which is often twice a day). Should you suspect you’ve developed a UTI, inform your nurse immediately. While these conditions are painful, they are easily reversed with today’s medication.
Your free intermittent catheters are nothing to be embarrassed about. They’re an essential medical tool designed to help you live your most comfortable life possible.