Self-Catheterization (Clean Intermittent Catheterization)
What is self-catheterization?
Self-catheterization is a way to empty your bladder when you have difficulty urinating. As the name suggests, you perform the procedure yourself.
Self-catheterization, also called clean intermittent catheterization (CIC) or intermittent self -catheterization (ISC), involves inserting a thin, hollow tube called a catheter into the bladder through the urethra (the tube from which the urine exits your body). Urine drains out of the catheter into a toilet or container. When your bladder is empty, you slip out (remove) the catheter. You repeat these steps at regular intervals (intermittently) several times a day.
What are the types of urinary catheterization?
There are several ways to use a catheter to empty the bladder:
- Indwelling: A sterile tube called a Foley catheter stays in the bladder. The tube is inserted through the urethra, or in some cases directly into the bladder from the lower abdomen (supra-pubic catheter). The catheter attaches to a drainage bag that collects urine throughout the day and night. A balloon in the tip of the catheter keeps the catheter from slipping out of the bladder. Depending on your mobility and situation, the drainage bag may attach to a bed, your leg, or clothes.
- Condom: Males can slip a condom-like device over the penis. The device has a tube that drains urine into a bag.
- Self (clean intermittent): You or a caregiver insert a catheter into the bladder at regular intervals throughout the day. Urine drains through the catheter into a toilet, collection bag or container.
Who might need self-catheterization?
Certain health problems can make it difficult to empty your bladder. Bladder control issues that could require a catheter are more likely if you have:
- Bladder surgery.
- Central nervous system tumors (astrocytoma).
- Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia).
- Multiple sclerosis (MS).
- Neurogenic bladder caused by cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, spina bifida or spinal cord injuries.
- Urinary incontinence, urinary retention or urethral strictures and urinary fistulas.
- Severe constipation.