How often to catheterise......

and who decides how much is too often?

I’m on medication for an over active bladder, but it doesn’t empty fully, so I’ve been self catheterising since last July. I still suffer urge incontinence though. For my comfort and convenience I do it around six times a day. The continence nurse is ok with that, my GP seems ok with it, or at least he’s never said anything to the contrary, but now the pharmacist attached to the surgery says I’m using too many catheters. I don’t waste any now I can get the spot first time every time.

Presumably it’s a cost issue. So, how many is too many, and who decides? It’s my bladder, surely it should be me.

hi flowerpot,

i’ve been catheterising for nearly a year.

i do it every morning in the shower - yea i know it sound gross but there is something about being relaxed that helps.

my continence nurse wants me to do it in the evening as well but it’s too much of a palaver.

i really don’t see what business it is of the pharmacist.

you stick to what works for you.

carole x

Hi, if you`re not able to empty properly, then that does cause the urge to go.

I was like that before I got my spc. I needed to go every hour. But I never self cathetered.

If you need 6 catheters a day, then you need `em chuck.


I started out with 3 to 4 catheters a day but after my hospital app the consultant told me to use them 5 to 7 times a day.

Your GP will be signing the prescription form so if he is ok with your usage carry on.

Pharmacy staff are not responsible for telling you how many you can or should use, pharmacists are very well trained and very knowledgeable but have no access to your medical records.

If you use Coloplast products you could elect to have your caths delivered to your home as I do, gp ok,s script so when I order they fax a script to gp for approval and then deliver to me plus I getcomplimentary products such as hand gel, disposal bags and wipes.

Not sure if other companies offer this service.

Bottom line is… Ignore the pharmacist he/she cannot say you cant have whatever is on your script.

Good luck


I self catherterise 3/4 times a day and everyone is fine with that and I also use coloplast who in my opinion are brilliant

Polly x

I just catherterise now

Polly x

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Hi Flowerpot

I use about 6 per day myself, but as the others have said, it’s an individual thing. You need sufficient to be able to chuck one on the rare occasion that you don’t get the right spot each time. I asked the continence nurse once if I’m using too many and she said there’s no such thing, everyone’s different.

If your busybody pharmacist is a bit of a pain, you could change to a delivery company, there are several, I’m happy to give you the contact details for mine if you PM me. They’ll want you to have a chat with their nurse first, but I’ve just sent them an email telling them not to contact me quite so often for repeat orders. Cos it was only 2 weeks since the last order arrived and I still had 6 boxes!! They are really pretty good and there’s never a question about how many you need, you just ask for the number of boxes and they come by courier usually a week later.

And as for trying to go ‘normally’ first, I’d be sat there all day and never get a trickle. The only time I actually wee sort of normally is when I’ve got an infection. And I usually wet myself when that happens. It’s a sure sign to check for infection!


Thank you. I do “go” naturally then catheterise to empty. I do have them delivered by the supplier. I ring when I’m down to about a weeks supply and they’re usually delivered about a week later. The pharmacist works in the surgery, I don’t know what his remit is, presumably he is monitoring prescriptions. I don’t know why the surgery need a pharmacist, they don’t supply the meds. If they want to save money they could get rid of him!

It sounds like maybe you should speak to your GP next time you see one and ask them to make a decision on how many you should be using, and have them pass that info back to the pharmacist. But keep in mind that no matter how long you’ve been using them, there are always going to be times where for infection control, you have to chuck one away unused.



I catheter twice a day, first thing in a morning and last thing at night.

I see a specialist nuerologist, in rehabilatation, who would like me to cath in the afternoon also.

I can’t do it by myself anymore and the missus works.

I have no wish or inclanation to have a stranger coming in to help me and as the area I live in only employs female incontinence nurses it’s no.

I believe that dignaty is an important part of life.

At the moment we are trying to stop my spasms which can be quite agressive and the doc wants to rule out excessive retention.

I presume the next move will be an SPC.

Another reason for cathing less is that I tend to get UTIs regularly even thoe my hygene is good.

So it is really up to you how many times you need to cath and non of the chemist business,

As for cost your’e worth it.


I catheterise 6 times a day.

I find using a sort of cheap version of KY gel from Asda before I catheterise makes it much easier and less painful.

H xx

Did you know that your doctor can prescribe lubricating gel? If you either don’t pay or prepay for prescriptions, it might be worth mentioning.


I was given a guide on how many times a day based on redisual bladder volumes from under 150ml = daily to over 500ml = 4 times a day. Unable to void was 6 times per day.


That’s interesting.

I get sore from cathing.

Do you know the name of the lubrication.

Don’t like useing lub out of a tube because of infections.


Thanks Sue. I didn’t think of that.

The one I use is Asda Lubricating Jelly. I just wipe some on the end of the catheter so it keeps everything clean.

H x

It’s called Aquagel. It comes in two forms, either in tubes or small sachets. If you’re using it to lubricate for ISC, then get your doctor to prescribe the sachets as that’ll be much better for infection control.



See my reply to Ronin re the gel.


Hi, I do about 6x a day. I have never been told this is too much. I think it should be up to you how often you do it xxx