So for whatever reason, your bladder needs a bit of help taking its contents to broad daylight. The delivery system used by most people (ie. peeing) is experiencing ongoing engineering works – so you have to rely on the replacement bus service: the catheter.

In the ‘Self-Cath 101’ series of blogs, I’m building up a Beginner’s Guide. (I’m more interested in the social side than the toiletary side, but before we get to the pub, let’s go to the bathroom…).

Let’s get started with the basics.

‘Catheter’. That’s a strange word.

Yes it is, and one people shudder at. I know one pal who self-caths, whose friends leapt to her defence when someone overheard her use the word ‘catheter’ – to cover her assumed embarrassment, they said to the overhearer: “She said she’s Catholic.” I don’t know if my pal then had to pretend to be Catholic for any length of time, but some of us will go a long way to cover any awkwardness.

The humble catheter is a flexible tube used to remove fluid from a body cavity. I’m just focusing on the glamorous world of urethral catheters here. If you’re reading this in the hope of more on nasal catheters, you’ll be sorely disappointed, unless you’ve perfected the trick of urinating through your nose, in which case, well done.

Speaking of ‘sorely’, many wince at the prospect of self-cathing. But forget that, because here’s news for you: IT SHOULDN’T HURT. Sorry to shout. If it’s hurting, it might be the wrong cath for you. Ask your friendly healthcare professional for a different size or type. And if they’re not friendly, give them a tickle first***.

***Do not tickle healthcare professionals. There may be laws against this.

The opinions expressed here are of a personal and anecdotal nature, and are in no way a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult your doctor or nurse if you have any 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. Call and talk to a member of the me+ support team today, on 1800-335-276 (AU) or 0-800-441-763(NZ).