Catheters: My experience

While in hospital I was unfortunate enough to experience having a catheter, I didn't know much about the treatment and in all honesty I was scared! A catheter is a thin, flexible tube that can put fluids into your body or take them out. If you have trouble peeing or can't control when you pee, a urinary catheter that goes into your bladder can get rid of urine for you. This was the case when, due to pain the muscles in my lower abdomen spasmed and stopped me from being able to control when I peed.

The experience itself was incredibly painful, awkward and embarrassing. I was already in quite a bit of pain due to undiagnosed appendicitis, then when the muscles in my lower abdomen spasmed the pain increased. Then, while waiting for painkillers I realised that although I had the urge to pee, I couldn't actually complete the action. This resulted in a nurse completing a bladder scan to assess if i had urine in my bladder that was being retained and not passed. The test showed approximately 400ml of urine was being retained, meaning a catheter would be necessary to relieve the bladder of that urine.

Following the removal of my appendix and the vast improvement in my pain, the muscles in my abdomen relaxed and I was able to control when I peed again. Therefore the catheter was removed, this wasn't painful at all, merely uncomfortable. A few hours after the catheter was removed i was discharged home.

However, over the course of the weekend I experienced spasm like pain in my bladder and the classic signs of a urinary tract infection. After visiting my GP i was diagnosed with both a UTI and thrush, both of which were put down to complications as a result of the catheter I had received. Luckily, these conditions are easily treated with antibiotics, antifungal cream and lots of cranberry juice!

On a whole, although having a catheter was initially painful and uncomfortable it did treat the problem that had occurred. I feel like I would have been much more at ease had I known the details and possible risks of the treatment at the time, so in future if you have to have a procedure or treatment like a catheter make sure to ask questions to guarantee your comfort.

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