Bladder question

I suffer from urge incontinence, not all the time, but most mornings. I have an over active bladder and I take medication for that which helps but hasn’t completely resolved it and my bladder doesn’t empty fully. I’ve so far resisted self catheterising and I’ve been lucky never to have had an infection and my kidney function is normal.

However, I can deal with soggy pads at home, away from home is more problematic, so I’m wondering, if I self catheterise ( I’m not sure my fingers are nimble enough) will it help with urgency and/or frequency?

I have an appointment with the continence nurse on Monday and I’m thinking of telling her I’ll do it.

Any comments/advice welcome please. Thanks x

Self catheterisation is usually recommended for people who can’t empty their bladder. That’s the point of it. Not emptying your bladder can cause you to have to go to the loo very frequently, unsurprisingly, but I don’t think it causes urgency. Often people who have frequency problems also have urgency problems but the solutions to the two problems are different (catheterisation for the first, drugs for the second).

From my own experience, catheterisation helps with frequency, but not as much as you’d hope. I would catheterise before the leaving the house to cycle my son to school and I would usually make it back to the loo - not always though. I was only out if the house for a bit over half an hour.

Catheterisation was a hassle, but worth it to me at the time for the extra twenty minutes between morning loo trips. My bladder has been functioning much better for the last couple of years. Might be because I’m on Simvastatin now (the improvement started a month or two after I went on that) or just because of the nature of MS. My son has taken himself to school for the last two years so I don’t have that test any more.

I have mainly emptying trouble but urgency too and I self catheterise. My hands are a bit iffy but I have no trouble doing it. It helps massively with emptying and I think also with urgency, because if the bladder is fully empty it shouldn’t cause the urge quite as fast as if you’re not emptying. I still have times when it’s a mad scramble to get to the loo, and I still sometimes don’t make it but in the main ISCing has been great. I don’t get a lot of infections, in fact for some reason I seem to only get one when I’ve been on holiday, maybe due to using public loos en route and the physical differences in the bathrooms. I’ve just lately been carrying hand sanitizer to use immediately before catheterising.

You can always give it a go and see what you think. And by the way, there are many types of catheter out there, you end up having to pick one but later you can always change your mind, you can get samples from the manufacturers at any time. I’ve changed a couple of times.


Hi, I changed my bladder calmer med from oxybutynin to betmiga a few months ago.

it works MUCH better and doesnt cause the nasty dry mouth/sore throat either.