If you have difficulty emptying your bladder, and the large residual volume of urine is causing you to have overactive bladder symptoms or frequent urinary tract infections, Dr. Kumar may recommend that you catheterize intermittently in order to keep your bladder empty.
This involves placing a small tube in the urethra and draining the urine out until no more urine exits the tube. Then the tube can be removed. You are advised to wash your hands with soap and water immediately before and after catheterizing, and to avoid touching the tip of the catheter so that it remains sterile when it is inserted.
If you have a neurogenic bladder, it is important to keep your bladder empty to avoid high pressures in the bladder backing up to the kidneys.
Many women are concerned about risks for getting a urinary tract infection with catheterization. While this is a valid concern, the risk of infection is much higher with an indwelling catheter. It is also preferable to give your bladder the opportunity to void on its own, especially in patients who have urinary retention after surgery.