Intermittent Self Catheterization

Clean intermittent self catheterization has been widely used for many problems that result in inadequate bladder emptying (e.g, spinal cord injury, closed bladder extrophy, tumors, myelo meningocele).

There are several advantages and health benefits to Intermittent Catheterization.

* It prevents the bladder from becoming overfilled and losing its muscle tone.
* It eliminates the problem of residual urine (urine that remains in the bladder even after it has emptied), thus preventing possible bacterial growth and bladder infections.
* By completely emptying the bladder, the intermittent catheter diminishes the occurrence of wetting accidents, allowing your child to enjoy a more active, confident, and healthy lifestyle.

Intermittent Self-Catheters

For many children, intermittent self-catheters provide a convenient, clean, and comfortable method to prevent or diminish urine retention problems. With just a little practice, most children can easily learn to use the system themselves.

The method involves the periodic insertion of a hollow plastic tube (a catheter such as Mentor’s Self Cath® product) into the urethra, past the sphincter muscle, and into the bladder. Because the catheter is hollow, urine will flow through it and the bladder will empty. This process must be done at regular intervals, and is most effective if done on a set schedule each day.

If your child has good dexterity, flexibility, coordination, and an understanding of the procedure, he or she will be ready to self-catheterize. Many children as young as four or five have been taught self-catheterization. Your child will be evaluated by a urology nurse. If he or she seems ready to learn the procedure, your nurse will help you and your child learn self-catheterization.

The technique is easily learned by children. It may take time for girls to locate the proper opening. Trial and error, as well as your guidance, will be helpful until they become accustomed to it. It is advised that girls use a mirror initially; however, this is discouraged later to avoid the development of dependency on the mirror. Within a short period of time, girls become competent with guiding the catheter into the urethra by touch.

It will take practice for you to learn how to catheterize your child or for your child to catheterize himself or herself. However, it is important to remember that thousands of children have learned this technique and catheterize every day.

Frequency of catheterization will be prescribed by your physician or nurse. Normally, catheterization is performed every four hours. It can be done more frequently, but your child should never go more than four hours without being catheterized. Your child should catheterize, or be catheterized, first thing in the morning and every four hours until bedtime. It is not necessary to catheterize during the night. For school-age children, it is very important that the schedule be continued throughout the day. The school nurse should be informed of your child’s schedule so that assistance is available if necessary.

Pediatric Intermittent Self-Catheters
Material Reprinted
Courtesty of Mentor Corp.
Santa Barbara, CA
© 2003 Mentor. All Rights Reserved.