Common ways to manage bladder function include the
Intermittent catheterization programs (ICPs) are often used
when you have the ability to use a catheter yourself or someone can do it for
you. You insert the catheter—a thin, flexible, hollow tube—through the urethra
into the bladder and allow the urine to drain out. It is done at scheduled
times, and the catheter isn't permanent.
If you can't use intermittent catheterization, you can use a
permanent catheter known as an
indwelling Foley catheter. Urinary tract infections are more likely to occur with
long-term use of an indwelling catheter than with an ICP.
Caring for the catheter is important to avoid
If you use an indwelling Foley catheter, after a period of time
you may be able to change to a suprapubic indwelling catheter. This is a
permanent catheter that is surgically inserted above the pubic bone directly
into the bladder. It does not go through the
If you can't use intermittent catheterization and can't (or don't want to) use an indwelling catheter, you may be able to choose surgery that creates a urostomy. An opening (stoma) is made between your bladder and the skin of your belly. Urine then drains into a bag attached to your skin at the stoma. Intermittent catheterization can be used through the stoma, if needed.
For men, a
condom catheter can also be used. Condom catheters are only for short-term use, because long-term use
increases the risk of urinary tract infections, damage to the penis from
friction with the condom, and a block in the urethra.
If you have a spastic bladder, you may be able to "trigger" the
bladder to contract and avoid having to use a catheter. To do this, you can try
tapping on the bladder area, stroking your thigh, or doing push-ups in your
wheelchair. Or you can use
Valsalva maneuvers, which are efforts to breathe out
without letting air escape through the nose or mouth.