Just a quick question for those of you who use ISC.

How many times a day do you do it? I’m sure I was told to do it 5-6 times a day, whenever I went to the loo. However, today I have been questioned by a Dr as to why I do it so often. Also, do you try to go normally first or just use the catheter? He was suggesting I only did it 3 or 4 times which would help minimise infections. He also queried whether I would prefer a permanent catheter.

He wasn’t my urologist or neurologist but somebody within the rehabilitation department who was looking at my MS as a whole.


Absolute nonsense. Many of us don’t stand a chance in hell of peeing normally (I can’t). So I do it at least 5 times a day. Sometimes more. I try to do it as little as often but that’s not because of UTIs, it’s because I tend towards slight irritation of the urethra and then feel like I’ve got an infection.

When I had a supra pubic catheter last year for 6 months, I had one UTI after another, plus a nasty wound infection. Since the SPC was removed in September, I’ve had no infections.

So long as you have good hygiene and technique, you should be OK with regard to infections. If you have a retention problem, you are more likely to have infections by not emptying fully than by using catheters and fully draining.

I see a rehab specialist too but I don’t think he’d be that short sighted. If you’re bothered, ask a urology nurse or urologist (if you see one) or ask your GP to refer you to the local bowel and bladder service and ask them.


Hi anon

At the risk of confusing you. I’m the opposite of Sue. When I did ISC I’d do it 3 or 4 times a day (and always do a little pee first - the catheter seemed to go in easier when I did that). But I was always getting infections. So my urologist suggested i have a suprapubic catheter instead. Since I had it done, the number of infections has dropped massively.

So I guess mine and Sue’s different experiences just shows that we’re all different, there’s not necessarily a right or wrong way. If it works for you doing it that often, then great. If not then change how often you do it, or speak to your urologist about your options.


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Dan is of course quite right. We are all different. (Bloody MS, it could be our mantra.)

If you are using ISC up to 6 times a day and getting repeated infections, then perhaps the doctor is right in your case. But if you aren’t getting infections, then I’d carry on doing with what you are doing.


Hi Been using catheters for 6 years, nothing to be embarrassed about, when you come to terms with it, part of MS for some. Kept having urgency to go and/or wetting my myself, not nice when your over 50/60. Referred to incontinent Nurse, who came to my home, told me to empty my bladder which I did. Then put a mobile scanner on my tummy and said you still have three quarters of a litre of liquid in your bladder. That’s why you have a problem, told me to ask GP to issue me with Speedicath 28212 male, made by Coloplast they are 18 inch long bright green in colour, come back to this later, as they are a real give away if you are seen going to the pub or restaurant toilet carrying one of them. OK for 6 months then got an infection for which he prescribed a course of Cefalexin 250mg they are for bladder infections which cleared it up. My GP also gave me some poor advice saying I should only self Cathater 2/3 time a day. He also referred me to a Consultant Urologist who put a camera up my bladder which I could see on a TV screen which was fantastic and also checked out my kidneys which were all fine. I then told him my GP had told me to only use catheters 2/3 times a day to reduce infections and he went ballistic. He said who need to Catheter to keep the liquid well below 0.75 of a litre otherwise it could filter back to your kidneys and damage them. He said you can easy get rid of infections by taking Cefalexin 250 mg, I now take one a day and do not have any problems. Going back to the bright green Catheters, by chance COLOPLAST sent me a discreet sample Catheter reference 28922 it comes in a grey plastic bag which fits in the back pocket of my jeans or inside my jacket pocket. When opened it is completely shrouded in plastic and incredibly easy to insert especially in gents toilets which are normally poorly lit. Only use when leaving the house, as the bright green ones have a larger diameter tube which helps you to drain quicker. Hope this helps from a happy regular user.

i self catheterise but these days i’m doing it more often because i often can’t pee when i know my bladder is full.

i have gone from once a day to 4 to 6 times a day.

very glad that i have catheters because i’d panic about my inability to pee.

i rock back and forward to help the pee to flow but still have to use a catheter.

Hi. I’ve been doing it about three years now. I also have Botox so when that’s just been done I can’t wee at all. As it wears off I’m back to urge incontinence, but not emptying fully.

As to how often. I do it 5 or 6 times in 24 hours. That’s what works for me.

Had a run in with the pharmacist at my GP surgery whose professional opinion is that it should be no more than four times.

The continence nurse says up to six is fine, as did one of the two Urologists I’ve seen thought the same. The other thought five or six was too many.

We’re all different, and I’m sticking with five or six, whether they like it or not. My body, my bladder, my comfort!

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i’ve settled at 4 a day for the time being, as we all know nothing stays the same for long.

I guess a significant factor is the extent of urine retention. Last time I had it measured it was around 300ml and the urologist said to ISC twice a day; before going to bed and first thing in the morning. I always urinate first and then count the number of seconds for the cath to empty what is left. If you compared the count with a jug filling, then it might give you a good estimation of what is happening with the retention. If you found it was getting high you could ISC more often. Mine is variable because I sometimes forget to take a prostate relaxant medication and possibly symptoms flaring up, so sometimes I do it more often.