How painful is a catheter for a male

How Painful Is a Catheter for a Male? What Can Be Done to Ease the Pain?

Catheter insertion is a common practice in hospitals, clinics, and even at home for patients who have urinary problems such as incontinence or urethral blockages. It can be used in many situations and helps patients drain their bladders when it may be otherwise difficult or painful to do so.

However, many patients fret about the process of having a catheter inserted, and the process may cause some discomfort or even pain, particularly for male patients. Read on through this guide to look at what kind of pain can occur during catheter insertion and removal, as well as some preventative measures to help ease the patient’s discomfort.

What Does a Catheter Feel Like in Male Patients?

The experience of having a male catheter inserted can vary from patient to patient. Some male patients note that they feel quite a lot of pain and discomfort at the moment of entry, and this may continue in a mild form while the catheter is in place. 

Others only notice mild discomfort, and some men don’t feel any major sensations at all. Some men also report that they feel a strong need to urinate at the moment of insertion, along with a burning feeling in and around the penis.

Ultimately, how the catheter feels will depend on several factors, such as the accuracy and care of the insertion procedure, the potential usage of anesthesia, and the patient’s own tolerances for pain and discomfort.

Can a Male Catheter Cause Pain During Insertion?

Yes, there is a risk of pain in male patients during catheter insertion. In fact, many patients say that insertion is the most painful part of the procedure, and this may be considered the highest-risk moment where patients may notice pain and discomfort. 

Some patients report a stinging or burning sensation at the moment of insertion, along with a strong desire to urinate. The level of pain is not usually severe in most patients and should subside quickly, but can be uncomfortable.

Pain may be more severe if the catheter is inserted too forcefully or incorrectly, as it may damage the inside of the urethra and even potentially cause bleeding, which is why appropriate lubrication and proper technique should be used.

Pain may also be increased if the patient has some sort of blockage or obstruction inside the urethra, as the catheter will need to pass around the obstruction, and this can be painful as the tube connects with the inside of the urethral walls.

Can a Male Catheter Cause Pain When In Place?

Yes, there is a risk that a catheter can cause pain and discomfort to a male patient while it is in place. Some patients report a general sense of discomfort or a mild ache with a catheter in position.

However, in most cases, once the catheter has been inserted, it shouldn’t cause much or any further pain. As long as the insertion procedure has gone smoothly, the catheter can remain in place for a length of time without bothering the patient. 

If a patient does experience serious pain while the catheter is in place, it may be a sign of a serious problem, like a potential infection within the urethra or damage to the urethra which may have occurred during insertion.

Can a Male Catheter Cause Pain During Removal?

Yes, removal of the catheter may also cause some pain and distress to the patient. Some patients complain of mild to moderate irritation and stinging feelings around the end of the penis, in particular, when the catheter is being removed. 

The patient may also continue to experience some mild discomfort and aching for a short while after the catheter has been removed, and it may be slightly painful to urinate at first, if they are able to do so without the catheter. However, this should subside relatively quickly.

Ways to Ease Catheter Pain in Male Patients

In a lot of cases, patients won’t feel much or any pain or discomfort with catheter insertion, but there is still a risk of pain and other problems. Fortunately, there are steps to take and techniques that you can use to ease the pain that your patient may experience:

  1. Use the Appropriate Size – Sizing is key with catheters, and it’s important to make sure that the correct size of catheter is chosen to reduce the risk of the patient suffering any injuries or feeling any pain.
  2. Opt for Polished Eyelets – Catheters typically have drainage eyelets, or little holes, near the tip. These holes may have rough edges which can increase the odds of the patient experiencing pain. Opt for a catheter with smooth, polished eyelets to lower the risk.
  3. Always Use Lubrication – Before insertion, the tip of a catheter should be thoroughly lubricated with appropriate lubricating jelly. This massively helps to minimize friction as the catheter is inserted, minimizing discomfort or pain.
  4. Maintain Sterility – One of the biggest risks when inserting a catheter is that microbes can be passed into the body via the catheter tubing, which could cause painful infections. Be sure to maintain sterility throughout the insertion procedure.
  5. Choose the Correct Tip – Most patients will be able to accept standard straight tip catheters. However, if the patient has a blockage or obstruction, a coudé tip catheter may be better for them and less likely to cause pain.
  6. Follow Proper Insertion Procedure – Be sure to follow the correct procedure for insertion of a catheter and get the patient in the right position before you begin to make the process as quick and painless as possible.

About the Author: CIA Medical

Central Infusion Alliance, Inc. (CIA Medical) is an innovative and customer-oriented medical supply company serving a broad range of medical professionals and organizations.