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Afraid to switch from condom/leg bag to Intermitten Catheterization

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  • Afraid to switch from condom/leg bag to Intermitten Catheterization

    Anyone have tips/advice for me? I am T3/T4 male para and have been reflex voiding using a condom catheter leg bag for 30 years. My urologist wants me to switch to Intermittent cath but I don't have experience with it.

    He gave me a prescription of Detrol but I only lasted 2 hours before I was leaking. I work for an insurance company as a systems engineer and i'm responsible for the system that processes our annuities (largest part of our income) so I need to be able to attend meetings and some travel etc. Also have a part time job (own a franchise) so I am nervous about how I can continue if I can't solve the leaking problem.

    I also have no idea what products to use to IC (intermittent catheterize) while out of the house and how to carry them around.

    Also, what do you do if you can't get to a bathroom (get stuck on a plane during a flight for example). I've been on a plane delayed on runway before and if I didn't have a large leg bag i'd be in trouble.

    any advice from some IC veterans is very much appreciated! I know you're out there!

    Anyone else have trouble with getting the meds to work?

    Anyone recommend botox over drugs?

    thanks, dan

  • #2
    Do you have a wheelchair bag? I'm no veteran, new to IC myself. The supplies don't take up much space and I have some in my wheelchair bag. I'm female so my catheters are shorter, but its not a huge difference. I carry the catheters, some individually wrapped wipes, and individual lube packets.

    As for the plane I've read of people cathing under a lap blanket into a container. As a male you're at the advantage there You could also use a closed cath system kit, or regular leg bag still I believe. But if those aren't available and you have an empty drink bottle it will work as well.
    Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

    I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

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    • #3
      A foley would make things easier. Using Vetericyn when you insert it would minimize the odds of a uti.

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      • #4
        I used to leak involuntarily for a while before surgery to stop that but still had to ic regularly. Not being able to find a place to cath was a big worry for me but it has not been much of a problem and not having a leg bag to deal with is very nice. If leaking is the problem I cathed through the condom cath regularly until I didn't need the leg bag any more. I'm sure it isn't the most sterile option but I didn't have much of a problem with blatter infections although I had more than I do now. All I can think of is do that until you either figure it out were you don't leak or decide ic is not an option. If you reflex void you could always use a condom cath as a backup for plane trips or what not.

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        • #5
          I am in the same boat as you. 6 years ago after 25 years of leg bag use I had a kidney stone. Doc advised I cath. That didn't work well, I was peeing all over. I now wear my leg bag and cath through the condom catheter. If I'm late or busy, no problem.

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          • #6
            Cathing through a condom catheter is playing Russian Roulette with urinary tract infections. It is not a practice that is endorsed by urologists.

            All the best,
            GJ

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            • #7
              I have been doing IC for almost 35 years.

              I cath and wear a leg bag. However I don't cath "through" the condom cath. I take off the condom cath and then cath. Depending on circumstances I'll wash out condom cath & leg bag ( at home), or have a new one in my knapsack to put on...

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              • #8
                changing to IC

                I voided on my own for nearly 40 years. I would use a condom cath(In my early days of SCI it was actually a condom which I had to convert to an external catheter.) during work or trips away from home. Despite my uro's urging I refuse to switch over to IC. As long as the bladder pressure was manageable, everything was OK. However, the time came when it felt like razor blades were in my bladder every time I had to urinate. The bladder pressure became a threat to my kidneys. I had no choice but to switch over to IC.

                After 3-4 years of IC I can say I wish I had made the change earlier. Upside: Reduced bladder pressure, no leg bag to or leaking condom cath to worry about, fewer trips to the bathroom, reduced spasticity, no leaking or bladder accidents, and much less discomfort.

                Downside: More frequent UTI's, some discomfort upon insertion of the catheter, must always have the means to carry catheters, lubricant, anti-bacterial soap, and some kind of make shift urine collection device.

                The pluses far outweigh the minuses, because leaking was never an issue. 5mg of oxybutinyn shuts down the bladder and my urodynamics show a calm bladder without all the spikes in pressure. Wearing shorts or changing pants in the locker room or anywhere else is no longer an embarrassment.

                Work with your uro on adjusting your meds to see if you can get the leaking under control and extend the time between caths. I'm generally good for 4-6 hours during the day and go the whole night without any urgency. For plane trips or other difficult situations you can consider using a foley attached to a leg bag. Before cathing one of my worst experiences was a flight to the west coast. The five hour flight with no means of getting to the bathroom and no way to adjust my position so that I could void into the leg bag made me feel like my kidneys would explode. Don't give up on IC yet. It is definitely a trial and error process, but the rewards can be significant.

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                • #9
                  The only reason I was cathing that way was I had no luck reapplyig a new condom cath while sitting up and and without thoroughly washing (for some reason no more tears liquid soap was the only thing that I could use and get a good seal, not any outher bar or liquid. Wish I had figured that out sooner.) and I went from 1-2 utis every couple years to 1 or 2 minor ones in the last 5-6 years so definitely not recommending it. Also anything you can do to get away from a leg bag I would recommend. More freedom of movement as I was always worked something was kinked. I carry a bag with gloves, cleaning supplies and a regular disposable urinal but keep a couple of the pre lubed caths in my chair and you can allways find some type of bottle in an emergency. As I said none of the things I was worked about have been a problem.

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                  • #10
                    after 34 years of reflux voiding using a condom catheter leg bag.
                    My urologist wanted me to switch to IC
                    I got a new urologist
                    We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.
                    Ronald Reagan

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                    • #11
                      Hi Dan,
                      Here are a couple videos you may find helpful:

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj_5qzYgNRc

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFACKDnE7Qk

                      Below is a list of catheter manufacturers. Many manufacturers will send you samples of their catheters upon request.

                      Resources: Catheter Manufacturers
                      Mentor, 800/525-0245, www.mentorcorp.com
                      Astra Tech, 877/456-3742, www.astratechusa.com
                      Coloplast, 800/788-0293, www.us.coloplast.com
                      Bard, 800/526-4455 , www.bardmedical.com
                      Apogee Medical, 800/572-6461, www.apogeemed.com
                      Rusch (Teleflex), 866/383-5124, www.myrusch.com
                      Hollister, 800/323-4060, www.hollister.com"
                      Rochester, 800/243-3315, www.rocm.com

                      All the best,
                      GJ

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                      • #12
                        I always hated cathing with a passion. I've worn a leg bag and external texas cath pretty much my whole SCI experience since 1981. What allowed me to keep doing this (after a six year stint of doing I/C along with the texas cath and leg bag which was super inconvienent, I switched docs and talked the new doc into doing another Sphinctorotomy (I had one originally in 1984 but that had gone bad) anyhow, 3 years later after the last Sphinctorotomy very few UTI's as long as I remember to lean back any apply pressure to my bladder every few hours to drain it and drink lot's of fluids. No inconvienence of having to worry to cath, I just look at those lean back's every 3 hours as taking a pee. I don't need hp bathrooms which is great, just the great outdoors, emptying the leg bag is a hell of lot more easy than cathing. The downside, the operation needs to be done aggressive or you might as well not do it and after you are very incontinent and have to wear a external cath and bag at all times, I guess there is price to be paid no matter which avenue you take when it comes to SCI bladder management.
                        Last edited by Curt Leatherbee; 12-14-2012, 10:59 PM.
                        "Life is about how you
                        respond to not only the
                        challenges you're dealt but
                        the challenges you seek...If
                        you have no goals, no
                        mountains to climb, your
                        soul dies".~Liz Fordred

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                        • #13
                          Dan, you do not say why the urologist wants you to make a change. Is the current system not working for you and how is it not working?

                          If everything is working from your perspective and there are no UTI's or other issues, there is no reason to change. If your bladder or kidneys are being adversely impacted by your current system, however, change is necessary. There is no reason why you cannot use the IC system (your urologist should be providing guidance as to type and frequency). There should also be a staff member available to assist you with methods, brands, features, etc.

                          If this is not available or you do not understand and agree with the reasoning behind making a change, find a new urologist. --eak
                          Elizabeth A. Kephart, PHR
                          mom/caregiver to Ryan-age 21
                          Incomplete C-2 with TBI since 3/09

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by crispy1981 View Post
                            Also, what do you do if you can't get to a bathroom (get stuck on a plane during a flight for example). I've been on a plane delayed on runway before and if I didn't have a large leg bag i'd be in trouble.
                            Originally posted by tasty View Post
                            For plane trips or other difficult situations you can consider using a foley attached to a leg bag. Before cathing one of my worst experiences was a flight to the west coast. The five hour flight with no means of getting to the bathroom and no way to adjust my position so that I could void into the leg bag made me feel like my kidneys would explode.
                            Note that all US aircraft (and foreign aircraft serving US cities) with more than 60 seats are required to have an on-board wheelchair, used to transport passengers to the lavatory.

                            I completely understand that using the OBWC and the airplane lavatory is a pain in the ass, but I just wanted to point out that it is an option.

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                            • #15
                              Try vesicare its great for leaking. Also just get a lil bag to carry around the caths. If I only need a few I just fold them up an put them in my pockets but you could fit a bunch in a backpack just get wipes and you're good. I've cath'd on a plane just asked for a blanket and put it over and did my business.

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