Self catheterisation


I’m know lots of you must do this and hopefully will tell me that you get used to it with practice.

After a couple of bladder scans I’ve been told I need to self catheterise. I was providedwith a booklet and 1 catheter to have a look at and get used to and told I’ll get an appointment to be shown in a week or so.

I’m not sure what I’m asking to be honest - probably just reassurance that it will be ok as I’m not really looking forward to it!

Sarah x

I wasn’t looking forward to it either but it really is no problem. I’ve being using catheters for over 2 years. Once you get used to it is so easy. At first you may need to look at what your doing using a mirror. After that it’s no issue, as my continence nurse says you can do it in the dark. There are different kinds of catheters to choose from, I only know of two there may be more, so you shouldn’t have to stick to the one you’re given if you don’t like it.

Sarah, as the previous reply suggests there is no embarassment to being taught how to do it, it becomes second nature and before you know it youll wonder why you were so aprehensive. My nurse was lovely, very caring, matter of fact and a female which helped me. It was her job and she was so kind when I kept making mistakes, she laughed then I got it right.

Yes using a mirror and practise, then all will become second nature I assure you too.

Sharing is caring, hope we have helped somewhat.



Hi Sarah

Like everyone else I hated the idea of doing it, but when I did it the first time I was surprised at how easy it was. And the biggest relief of all was that there wasn’t a hint of pain - I was surprised at how little I felt.

Obviously it takes a little bit of getting used to - getting the right technique and learning to recognise the different sensations that go with it, but that shouldn’t be a problem. One thing to make you aware of which might freak you out is that it’s possibly you may nptice a little blood at first. I had this and although it didn’t hurt at all I panicked that I’d done some damage, but when I mentioned it to the nurse they said that it was perfectly normal to get that at first. Sure enough it only happened a couple of times and it’s been fine since.

I wish I’d started it sooner as knowing I wouldn’t need to go to the loo for a few hours afterwards really helped.

Good luck


Thanks to you all for your words of reassurance. The nurses so far have all been lovely, and I’m sure whoever I see on the day will be too. I suppose I just can’t believe how quickly I’ve got to this stage - a year ago I knew very little about MS and now I can hardly walk for 10 minutes and have a new “skill” to learn! Your words have helped me to realise that I will get the hang of it; although I still don’t think I’m really looking forward to it! However, it willbe good to know to know that I won’t have accidents or need to know where the loos are when I’m out!

Thanks again,

Sarah x

Hi sarah,

I self catherterise due to my over active, retaining bladder. Like the other posters I wasnt thrilled with the idea, but needs must!

It is a bit difficult when you first start to find that tiny hole. I was given something that made it more comfortable called instillagel. It lubreicates & slightly numbs the are which is good if your stabbing yourself in the wrong bit.

A few years in its not a problem but there are times I cant find my pee pee hole as I put it. In that kind of situation dont stress as that will tense the muscle. Practice makes perfect and try to keep a sense oh humour about it!

Good luck with them,



I taught myself to self cath and I found a video on you tube (of all places!) to be very helpful. It’s diagramatic and not ‘live’ and it really helped me, I went through 30 catheters before I got it right and found the video!!! I just didn’t want to contaminate anything! There’s a male and female one, so type in ‘female self catheterisation’.

Hope it helps, it’s like riding a bike, you get it wrong a few times to begin with and then you never forget. 4 years in and it’s piece of cake!!!

Good luck.



I have been self catheretising for over 4 years - I have never passrd any blood (so that doesn’t happen to everyone), I barely feel anythying when doing it (even the first time) but I remember being so scared when it was first suggested that I nearly refused! and I suffer from retention and bladder spasms. It would wait until my bladder was nearly full, I was in the most public place and then spasm. It had gotten so bad I never wore trousers - could not stay away from home at night and I was reluctant to go out in the daytime - it has given me my life back. I really appreciate it now . I use 3 different catheters - a slighter longer one for normal everyday use, a compact one that fits in a makeup bag in my handbag for when I am out and about - and a very soft but slightly shorter one for the time of the month when I am very sensitive (I get really bad period pain!)

During December and January I had a really bad relapse and couln’t use my hand - no ISC! so I had to have an indwelling catheter fitted - I was determined to go back to ISC - now I love it compared to the alternatives.

Good luck - you will quickly get use to it. and its easy!


Hiya…I have been doing ISC since 1998 after retention of urine kicked in for me…it does get easier and the instillagel is fab stuff…just take your time and it will be fine…promise…for most people who do it it becomes second nauture…the nurse may ask you to measure volumes etc at first and make a note of them …but thats in the early stages…also you need to be aware of what your wee is like…colour, consistancy etc…use a new catheter each time…cuts down on risk of irritation/infection…I use the speedicath as they come in a sterile case with fluid in already…am not a fan of using tap water to lubricate the catheter and theres no waiting about either…so wishing you best of luck…in the long run you will find it a godsend…and you are in control of it…I ws taught whilst in hospital and used a mirrior to find the right bit…but after a while you get to know where to guide the catheter…