There are a handful of recommended ways to manage a bladder after a spinal cord injury. When you become paralyzed, doctors will usually insert a catheter into via the urethra/penis right away in the ER, but there are other options. Having a catheter in your urethra/penis long-term can cause issues, which is why many people opt for a suprapubic catheter.
A suprapubic catheter is a surgery that inserts a catheter into the bladder from a hole created in the side of the abdomen, eliminating the need to insert a catheter through the urethra or penis. The catheter is then attached to a drainage bag and the catheter is changed monthly. Surgery is required to get a suprapubic catheter, and there is a month-long recovery afterward.
While this procedure may seem intimidating, many people say it has changed their lives. From freeing up the body for intimacy to helping prevent UTI's, here are seven ways a suprapubic catheter can improve your life.
7) Less UTIs
One of the best benefits of using a suprapubic catheter is that many claims it can prevent UTIs. While it's still a foreign object in the bladder, ie, a catheter and a saline-filled balloon, there are fewer bacteria being introduced into the bladder because of the stoma.
6) Fewer Visits to the Bathroom
For anyone who frequents places with no accessible bathroom, a suprapubic catheter can be a great lifestyle enhancement. With a drainage bag, you do not need a toilet to relieve yourself.
5) Less Irrigation to Genitals
The fastest bladder management option for people who are paralyzed is a Foley catheter, but this is inserted through the genitals. This can be irritating to the skin, male or female. With the suprapubic catheter, it is inserted through the abdomen, so the catheter never touches the genitals.
4) Less Pain
For people with incomplete injuries, they can feel the catheter and it can be painful. With a suprapubic catheter inserted through the abdomen via a stoma, there is a lot less pain.
3) Easy to Maitain
Another bonus of a suprapubic catheter is that it's changed only once a month, making it easy to maintain. While an RN can be the person who changes it, a family member or a caregiver can also learn how to do it.
2) Less Leakage
One of the number one complaints of a Foley catheter being used over an extended period is that when you’re paralyzed, you have a higher chance of leaking around the catheter/balloon. With a suprapubic catheter, you can prevent leakage.
1) Sex is Easier
Sex is a lot easier when a catheter is not inserted into the urethra/penis, which a suprapubic catheter enables. For people with active sex lives, this is especially attractive. This type of catheter prevents unnecessary chafing and bleeding during sex.
If you're interested in getting a suprapubic catheter, make an appointment with your urologist to see if you are a good candidate.
Written by Spinal Cord TeamSpinalCord.com has been created as a resource for patients of spinal cord injuries and their families. Find everything you need to learn more about your injury, locate a doctor or treatment center, or discover financial relief to support you through this difficult time.
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