Cystoscopy, which looks inside your
bladder, ureters, and urethra to see if they are normal and to check for
Cystometrogram, which is a test of the pressure inside
the bladder. This can help your doctor find out how well your bladder is
Ultrasound, which uses reflected sound waves to
produce a picture of your bladder and kidneys.
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 is not permanent. For more information, see:
You may also hear this called intermittent
self-catheterization (ISC), clean intermittent catheterization (CIC), or clean
intermittent self-catheterization (CISC).
If you cannot use intermittent catheterization, you can use a
permanent catheter known as an
indwelling Foley catheter. This type of catheter is inserted through the urethra
into the bladder and has a balloon on the end that is inflated with sterile
water after the end is inside the bladder. The inflated balloon prevents the
catheter from slipping out. See a picture of an indwelling Foley catheter in a man and an indwelling Foley catheter in a woman.
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
For men, a
condom catheter can also be used. A catheter and collection bag are attached to
a condom. When you urinate, the urine goes through the condom and catheter to
the bag. 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, doing push-ups in your
wheelchair, or using
Valsalva maneuvers, which are efforts to breathe out
without letting air escape through the nose or mouth.
It is also possible to use
absorbent products, such as adult diapers. But these
can result in recurring skin irritations.