People who use self-catheterization to empty their bladders have an increased risk of developing urinary tract infections, reports the Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System. The risk of infection increases due to the presence of bacteria on the skin around the urethral opening. Bleeding may occur if the catheter irritates the lining of the urethra, according to Bergen Urological Associates.
When inserting a catheter into the urethra, the catheter may push bacteria from the skin into the urinary tract, according to the Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System. If urine stays in the bladder for several hours, the bacteria have an opportunity to multiply, increasing the risk of infection. Patients can prevent infection by drinking plenty of fluids and washing their hands before and after each catheter insertion. Emptying the bladder a minimum of once every six hours also helps prevent bacteria from growing in the urine.
Self-catheterization is a method of emptying the bladder, explains Healthline. The patient inserts a catheter into the urethra, which allows urine to drain from the bladder. In some cases, the patient has to measure the amount of urine collected and record it in a log book. An individual performs self-catheterization once every six hours during the day and once before going to bed. Inserting a catheter into the urethra may cause some discomfort.