Intermittent Self-Catheterization (ISC) is a great option for patients who are unable to completely empty their bladders. Providers have an important role in encouraging their patients to keep up with ISC and this review article aims to update providers on the most current literature regarding IC and practical clinical application.
Patients stop doing ISC for many reasons, they find it cumbersome, it disrupts their daily life and it can be painful. Many of the ideas discussed in the article address these issues, including proper teaching of the IC to allow patients to have a good grasp on the technique so they are comfortable when catheterizing. In addition, patients fear acquiring urinary tract infections from performing IC when really, the opposite is true. Urinary stasis from retention can lead to overgrowth of bacteria and urosepsis. So providers need to reinforce that IC does not cause infection but rather allows the bacteria to drain from the bladder in regular intervals, preventing microbial overgrowth and potential for urosepsis.
In the article, we discuss the different catheter types including lubricated and non-lubricated, as well as single use vs multiple use catheters. Each has its pros and cons and ultimately a discussion must be had with the patient to choose the best type of catheter for their life style.
It is important to remind patients throughout the process that IC should become a part of their life and not take it over. Overtime, patients will realize they can continue everyday activities and perform ISC as well.
We hope that this article provides the information that providers (Urologists and Primary Care Providers) need to implement an IC bladder management in appropriate patients.
Written by: Eliza Lamin, MD and Diane K. Newman, DNP FAAN BCB-PMD