suprapubic catheters has anyone got any new views?


I’m 70 and it has just been suggested by my neurologist that the next step in managing my bladder issues and UTIs ( 5 in 4 months) might be a SPC rather than ISC 3 - 4 times a day. I see the last thread was in 2014 and I just wondered if there were any new views. I read conflicting reports of increased UTI or decreased UTIs and am thoroughly confused! I have very little sensation left in my body and am worried that i might pull it out by twisting too suddenly etc. I once managed to fall over by having one foot on top of the other without realising!

Hi Mike

I suspect the primary target for you question is men, because ISC and SPC is very different or men and women. Also bladder management is so individual, what suits one person won’t suits the next. But still, here’s my view, from a woman’s perspective, having done both.

I’ve been using ISC since January 2012. And mostly had very little trouble. A few UTIs, but actually less than most medical professionals would expect. But then I had a long period of feeling like I need a wee all the time, it was tested with urodynamics and didn’t seem to be caused by bladder spasms, but still … it was decided initially that I should try Botox. That didn’t work because basically I wasn’t having bladder spasms. So it was felt instillations of Cystistat might help. This is like an extra lining on the bladder wall introduced by syringe into the urethra.

That didn’t help either. So given that I was still having the same feeling of needing to wee even though I’ve never been incontinent (sphincters won’t open on demand so incontinence is pretty much impossible!) it was determined that it was urethritis. And we agreed to go ahead with an SPC. I did this in March. And it was fairly uneventful.

But I kept having the feeling like I had an infection (ie wanting to wee all the time), so tested it again and again. I had several infections but basically the GPs were saying ‘well you do have an SPC…’. Then I had wound infections. From having rare infections with ISC, in 4 months, I had 5 lots of antibiotics.

Eventually, I saw the urologist. She explained that having an SPC meant that there would always be bacteria in the bladder. Also that the wound infection could be cleared up. Regardless, I decided to get rid of the bloody thing. So she agreed to remove it then and there.

Ive gone back to ISC. I haven’t had an infection. The door is still open to put in another SPC in the future.

I hope this is helpful.


Hi Mike

I had one fitted a couple years ago. It’s made life so much simpler than ISC. Like you I was a bit worried about accidentally pulling it out. But a small balloon is inflated inside your bladder to keep it in place, so there’s no chance of yanking it out. Personally, I’ve not had any problems with UTIs.

Good luck.


Hi Sue

Thanks very much for the very helpful report on your situation. Sorry for being so slow in replying - Christmas and then a stonking cold / sore throat I am still getting over is my only excuse. I seem to be prone to UTIs anyway so I will ask the urologist whether a SPC will make things worse. Going to see the consultant in April with a long list of questions! Watch this space. I think I may keep it in the locker for in the future or perhaps try it and have it removed if it doesn’t workk out for me. That was one of the large questions i wanted to ask anyway.

What was the operation like for you? Some peopel say they hardly noticed it others that it was horrendous

Many thanks