Intermittent Self-Catheterisation: What it is & my experience

Probably the most questions I received on my latest instagram story were about self-catheterising. So I decided to do my first catheter themed blog based on this and I also filmed a video talking about the products I found helpful whilst self catheterising. Please note that this is only my opinion based on advice I have been given and the experiences I have had. This should not replace professional medical advice.

Whether ISC-ing is ahead of you, or maybe you are a seasoned pro or maybe you just interested about learning about them, I hope that sharing my experience helps you. It can feel overwhelming, scary and isolating venturing into the world of catheters. None of it is glamorous and at some point you will probably cover yourself and your bathroom floor (and my boyfriends feet whilst on a plane!) with pee. Although I have some lovely urology nurses, each time I was given a new form of catheter I was sent out of the hospital with nothing more than a generic leaflet about it and sometimes not even that. The most useful tips I have learnt is from all my wonderful catheter pals on Instagram and through my experiences.

What is intermittent self-catheterisation?

Otherwise known as ISC or self-cathing, is a way to help your bladder when it is unable to empty fully yourself. It is when you insert a small catheter either at timed intervals or when you feel you need to go throughout the day. The reasons why you need to self catheterise can vary from spinal injuries to neurological conditions to muscles/sphincter not working as it should. If you can ISC, Medical professionals prefer it over indwelling catheters that stay in you all the time as there is less of an infection risk with self catheters.

How do you ISC?

The process involves preparing the area and yourself by ensuring everything you need is out ready so that when you wash your hands you touch nothing else but your catheter. It is common to use a mirror to help you get it in although some absolute pro's can do it without one (not me!). It can be fairly quick procedure, especially when you get the hang of it and need to do it multiple times a day.

Your urology nurse will show you and let you practice in front of her a few times, its actually not as hard as you think it will be! I remember watching the video and it said "be careful not to put it inside your vagina" and I laughed and said ha how silly to get those confused..and how silly I was, your anatomy isn't as clear as in diagrams! Deep breaths, take your time, get a system in place so you don't miss out important steps and don't be harsh on yourself if you struggle especially in the first few weeks.

I found Bladder and Bowel have a great instruction sheet and Coloplast have really helpful videos to watch about ISC-ing and how bladders function.

What extra products did I find helpful?

I decided to film myself as it was a lot easier so way to describe the products I used than writing an essay of a blog. I apologise in advance that the video doesn't have any captions (not quite worked out how to add those yet).

The products I mention are a combination of items given to me as part of my order which are free on