How can bladder issues affect my health?
If your bladder is not emptied regularly, it can cause infections. These start in the bladder but can move back to the kidneys and cause renal damage. Even small amounts of urine left in the bladder can cause infections.
Alternatively, if you cannot control the urge to urinate, you may leak involuntarily. Finding a way to take control of your bladder issues can help you stay healthy and confident.
What can I do to manage my bladder issues?
There are a number of methods and products available, including catheters, urisheaths (for men) and absorbent products. Get help finding the right product for your needs.
What is a catheter?
The catheter is a slim, flexible tube that is inserted into the bladder through the urethra to allow the urine to drain.
Does it hurt to catheterise?
No. You might feel some pressure when the catheter goes in. If you experience discomfort or if it is difficult to slide in the catheter, take a short break. Try to relax by taking a deep breath or by coughing. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you find it painful.
Can I just empty my bladder in the morning and in the evening?
No. You should follow the schedule your doctor has given you. As a rule, the bladder should be emptied at least 4–6 times a day.
Can I drink less so that I don’t have to empty my bladder so often?
No. It is very important that you drink enough. This keeps the urinary system clean and healthy.
What if the urine looks cloudy or dark and smells funny?
You may have an infection. Talk to your doctor or nurse.
What if I get frequent urinary tract infections?
Using an intermittent catheter increases the risk of urinary tract infections. However, compared to other catheter types such as permanent (indwelling) catheters, intermittent catheters are less likely to cause urinary tract infections. There are ways to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections:
- Drink more fluid during the day – the principle is simply to wash out the urinary tract, providing you continue to catheterise
- Make sure that the bladder is fully emptied every time you catheterise
- Increase number of daily catheterisations
- Ensure you have clean hands and equipment when catheterising
- Reassess your intermittent catheterisation technique (insert link to animation)
What should I do if I am still leaking?
Urine leakage may occur for different reasons:
- A urinary tract infection may cause urine leakage and you should contact your doctor if you suspect you have one. Typical symptoms to be aware of include:
- Dark-coloured and strong-smelling urine
- Cloudy urine
- Blood in the urine
- Bladder spasms
- Increased muscle contractions in your leg
- If you catheterise less than four times per day, the leakage may occur because you do not catheterise often enough.
- Consider catheterising more frequently to prevent the bladder pressure from building
- Make sure your bladder is fully emptied every time you catheterise. Reassess your intermittent catheterisation technique (link to animation)
- If you are catheterising more than seven times per day and still have problems with urine leakage you may wish to consult your doctor (see below)
- You may leak because you have involuntary bladder spasms/contractions (not caused by a UTI).
- Talk to your doctor about the possibilities of being prescribed some medication that will relax your bladder
- If the leakage mainly occurs doing physical exercise, you should consider catheterising before you start to exercise.