Common catheter problems & what to do about them

If you’re living with a catheter, it’s not uncommon to come across problems from time to time! We’ve addressed some of the more common problems below so you can feel better prepared if you start to experience any of these symptoms…

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Bladder spasms

Bladder spasms can feel like stomach cramps and they’re not uncommon for people living with a catheter. The contractions caused during bladder spasms are a result of the bladder attempting to squeeze out the balloon. You may not have seen the balloon before unless demonstrated by a nurse. This is inflated with 10mls of sterile water once the catheter has been inserted and is inside your bladder. The small balloon holds the catheter in place and is deflated when it’s time for your catheter to be removed.

Bladder spasms can also be caused by urinary tract infections (UTIs), which you’re at increased risk of when you have a catheter. Another cause is irritation from the catheter, which you can help to prevent by using products to hold your catheter in place.

If you’re affected by bladder spasms, please don’t hesitate to discuss this with your nurse or GP. After assessing you, they’ll be able to make recommendations for things you can do to make yourself feel a lot more comfortable.


Catheter infection

The risk of infection for someone living with a urinary catheter (short term or long term) increases each day the catheter remains in place. There are various things you can do to reduce your risk of catheter infection, including practicing good hygiene when handling your catheter, and not unnecessarily breaking the connection between your catheter and leg bag or valve. Another important consideration is catheter fixation.


Securing your catheter in place

If your catheter isn’t held in place properly, this can increase your risk of developing an infection, as the catheter cause rubbing and soreness inside your urethra. As you can imagine, this is very uncomfortable! This is why Vyne provides a choice of catheter fixation devices and plenty of advice on how to secure your catheter.


Catheter leaking

Have you ever experienced your catheter leaking? You may hear some people refer to this as ‘bypassing’ – simply referring to the urine bypassing the catheter. This is quite common. Check for any kinks in your catheter tubing which might be stopping urine from draining into your catheter. Catheter leaking can also be a sign that the catheter is blocked. If you think your catheter may be blocked, it’s essential you receive medical advice straight away.


Seeking medical advice

Do you have any niggling worries about your catheter? If there's anything you're unsure of, or if you have any concerns at all, please don't hesitate to speak to your nurse or GP.