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In January of 2000 my MS took some of my lower body functions. By November of 2011 my MS had taken everything below my waist. Nothing down there works correctly anymore! I’d started self-cathing part-time in October of 1999 so I wouldn’t get up so many times at night. Then in January of 2000 my bladder stopped working completely. That is when I started self-cathing full-time. I usually visit the biffy 5-6 times daily. I figure in 18.5 years I’ve cathed roughly 37,139 times give or take a couple hundred.
When I catheter I use a lubricant called Surgilube. I found the Surgilube tube is easier to handle with my shaky hands than a KY Jelly tube. I apply some “lube” on the end of my catheter and it slides up my urethra easily. I’d often wondered how many times I could self-catheter without it doing something to my urethra. I found that out in the spring of 2014. It seems the urethra can develop scar tissue and narrow when a person catheters alot like I do. It’s no big deal but no one ever told me that could happen!
In the spring of 2014 I started having trouble inserting my catheters. The catheter would enter my penis easily but then slow down and finally stop right at the entrance to my bladder. If you catheter you should be aware that the urethra can be subject to narrowing and scarring. The solution to the problem is the urethra has to be stretched.
Stretching the urethra assures the passageway stays open and allows for urine and semen to pass through. Stretching a urethra is called “Sounding”. Urethral “sounding” is the medical use of probes called “sounds.” The “sounds” increase the inner diameter of the urethra and helps locate obstructions in it. So that was the problem with my catheters not getting to my bladder very easily.
When I met my urologist I told him what was going on. The first thing he did was insert a “cystoscope” into my urethra to view what was going on. He said there was some scar tissue all along my urethra and also at the opening to my bladder. He said a “sounding” would take care of it. “Sounding” is the use of “sounds” to stretch a urethra. To me the sounds looked like sticks of spaghetti that come out of a box in the grocery store.
I’m not exactly sure how the sounds work but they were different diameters. My urologist inserted a “sound” into my urethra but it didn’t stretch it enough. He asked the nurse for a second one but again my urethra didn’t stretch enough. He asked the nurse for a third “sound”, inserted it and this time he seemed satisfied that my urethra had stretched enough.
I went home and the first time I cathed my catheter followed my urethra into my bladder smoothly! I was happy! That was the spring of 2014 but it happened to me again in the spring of 2016. This time though I knew what to expect. I went back to my urologist and had another “sounding” done to my urethra with no problems.