How can you train your bladder after the removal of a catheter?
It’s a big relief when you find out that your catheter is going to be removed. However, this can quickly be followed by feelings of anxiety if you are unsure of how your bladder is going to behave without it. This is a completely normal reaction, and one that we’ve heard many times from the WFIPP community. This blogpost has been written to alleviate any of your concerns about bladder incontinence, and to give you tips on how to retrain your bladder and regain a better quality of life.
What happens when a catheter is removed?
Your bladder and urethra may be irritated for a couple of days after a catheter is removed. Some people feel hesitant to urinate, whilst others experience a more frequent need to go to the bathroom. This can be accompanied by stinging or soreness, or the presence of pinkish urine. The good news is that these problems normally go away after urinating a few times, so you can get on with the important job of bladder retraining. If they don’t clear up naturally, then you should consult with a healthcare professional who can provide you with more detailed advice.
What is bladder training?
Bladder training is an effective treatment for many types of urinary incontinence, which includes the types of symptoms that catheter removal can cause. The aim of this method is to teach the bladder to hold more urine and empty less frequently, which means you will go to the toilet less often and pass more urine each time.
How long does bladder training take?
Speed is not the name of the game here! Bladder training can be a slow process, with some people practising it for several months before they get a result they are happy with. However, once your bladder is trained it should stay that way permanently, so in the long term it is worth persevering and making the effort.
What does bladder training involve?
Basically – you’re going to learn how to change your bathroom habits. There are different ways to do this, but a good start is to create a regular bathroom ‘schedule’ that you can stick to throughout the day. There are also certain alarms that can be purchased to warn you when it is time for your next visit, or monitors that can be used to record bathroom visits and ‘accidents’. This information can then be shared with your healthcare professional. Another method is to try and reduce the need to go to the bathroom so often. You can do this by trying some pelvic floor exercises, or by a distraction technique like counting backwards.
How can I find out more about bladder training?
Apart from reading the resources on our website, the best place to find help is at your doctor’s surgery or physical therapist. There, you’ll find doctors, specialised nurses or physical therapists, all of whom have years of experience in either catheter removal and/or bladder training. Together, you can create a personalised plan that fits with your individual needs and goals.
Congratulations on your catheter removal, and good luck with your bladder training!
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