Are there any side effects to self-cathing?

There will be an adjustment period when you first start to self-catheterize. The time frame for a person to “desensitize” their urethral sensitivity, can vary for each person from a few days to a few weeks or possibly longer. The average time it takes for a person with full urethral sensitivity to “desensitize” to cathing is approximately 3-5 days. You may experience a burning or stinging sensation when first using intermittent catheters as the urethra becomes used to the friction and movement of the catheter. Sometimes there can be a little blood or even a lot of blood, if the urethra tears or a false pass is created, but this is rare. To minimize this risk, always use plenty of lubrication or a pre-lubricated, hydrophilic catheter to reduce friction and side effects of self-cathing.

It is also important to speak with with your doctor about a self-catherization routine that best meets your needs and approach to cathing should be determined. This routine should include knowing on average, how many times a day you’ll need to self-cath and what products are right for you

Don’t ignore symptoms and always speak with your healthcare professional if you are having complications or think you have an infection.


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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. Call 1-800-422-8811 (M-F, 8:30 AM-7:00 PM ET).