Guidelines for clean intermittent self catheterisation

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(CISC) is when a person passes a small tube into their bladder to allow the urine to flow out, and to help empty the bladder artificially but easily, quickly and with a minimum of effort.

The method is quite simple. It does not cause any damage to the bladder or urethra even if performed over a long period of time.

General Advice

If a few specks of blood appear don’t worry as they are due to irritation and should clear up in a few days. If the bleeding persists or becomes heavy you should tell your doctor or health care professional.

If you have any of the following symptoms of shivering, high temperature/fever, cloudy urine or offensive smelling urine you may have an infection.

Drink extra fluids and contact your doctor or health care professional.

Choice of catheters

There are a large number of catheters for use to perform CISC.

Some of the catheters will be plain catheters and some will require you to add water to the pack to activate a specially treated surface which becomes very smooth and slippery after it has been kept in water for 20-30 seconds.

Others will already be coated and packaged in a solution, making them ready to use without the need to lubricate, add water or wait the usual 20-30 seconds.

How to use your catheters

If there is a possibility that you may be able to urinate, always try before using a catheter.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Wash around the genitalia with soap and water.
  • Prepare your catheter as per manufacturer’s instructions and catheterise yourself as you have been taught by your health care professional.
  • Bending the tip of the catheter before the flow begins will prevent spillage.
  • When the flow stops, move a little just to ensure that the bladder is completely empty and then slowly remove the catheter.
  • Dispose of the catheter properly by rinsing it, placing it in a plastic bag and putting it in your household rubbish. Remember NOT to flush it down the toilet.

CISC should only be carried out under guidance from a health care professional. This information has been compiled with the help of experienced professionals and is intended as a supplement to any advice you have been given.