As we grow older, unexpected health problems may begin to develop that interfere with everyday life. Luckily, modern medicine has many solutions to assist those that struggle with these frequent issues. Catheters are tubes that are inserted into the bladder to remove urine and are used in a variety of different medical scenarios. Listed in the article below are the four most common reasons to use a catheter.
1. Urinary Incontinence
If you have difficulty controlling your urination, catheters can be a great help in managing this problem. Age is one of the leading causes of urinary incontinence, as your bladder muscles loosen gradually as time passes. Many other causes also exist, including complications from childbirth, hysterectomies, or prostate cancer. Although using a catheter can be uncomfortable, it is a wonderful aid in treating severe incontinence. Using a standard, indwelling Foley, or condom catheter can allow you to use the restroom normally or simply drain the urine into a drainage bag.
2. Urinary Retention
Others may experience the opposite issue to urinary incontinence, which is urinary retention. Prostate enlargement, urinary tract stones, weakened bladder muscles, and medication use are all common causes of urinary retention. Those who struggle with urinary retention are unable to empty the bladder, which can lead to serious medical complications. A catheter will allow the urine to easily flow into a drainage bag or toilet.
3. Prostate or Genital Surgery
Those who undergo prostate or genital surgery may have to use a catheter during the healing process to avoid infection or complications. Some may need a catheter after certain surgeries, such as prostate cancer surgery, because the procedure may cause temporary incontinence. For most surgeries, a catheter only has to be used for around two weeks, which is relatively short considering that most other conditions require life-long use.
4. Pre-existing or Newly-Developed Medical Conditions
Many people are forced to use a catheter for the entirety of their lives due to various medical conditions. Multiple Sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and severe dementia are a few common conditions that may cause a patient to need catheters. Those who cannot control their basic bodily functions due to mental or physical disabilities are aided greatly by catheters.
While catheters are incredible medical devices that help patients with a variety of conditions, it is important to discuss your questions and concerns with a doctor before using a catheter, as there are some possible risks and side-effects. Using a catheter can often lead to urinary tract infections or damage to the urethra, so it is crucial to drink plenty of fluids to prevent this. Seek medical right away if you experience any unusual pain or complications while using a catheter.