Does it hurt to catheterise a Mitrofanoff?

It may feel a little strange while you are learning how to use it but it should not hurt. It may become a little uncomfortable if there is stenosis or a granuloma.

How often should I empty my bladder?

It is recommended that you empty your bladder about every three to four hours. You should not leave it longer than six hours.

Will I get any sensation that I need to empty my bladder?

If this is your own bladder, or have had bladder augmentation and do not have any neuropathic problems, you will have the sensation that you need to empty.

If you have had your bladder removed, some people get a sense of fullness or their tummy may feel bloated.

Will I need to catheterise during the night?

Most people will need to drain their bladder overnight. If you are recovering from surgery you may want to put a bag on and allow free drainage on alternate nights, to prevent sleep deprivation.

It is difficult to insert or withdraw catheters?

Try to relax your abdominal muscles. The more you try, the more you will become tense, go away, relax, and try again a few minutes later.

Try the next catheter size down, if you can do this, tape the catheter in situ with a spigot or flip flow and leave it in for a couple of hours.

Then try again with the correct catheter size, if you cannot insert the catheter, contact the hospital for advice.

Will it bleed?

You may have a small amount of blood which is perfectly normal especially when you are starting to catheterise. If this increases, seek advice from the hospital.

Redness, inflammation or bleeding?

You must contact your GP or go to hospital.

Soreness and oozing?

Infection can be quite common due to insertion of a foreign body (catheter). Contact your GP or go to hospital.

How can I avoid getting urinary tract infection?

By drinking enough fluid to flush your kidneys and bladder. Ensuring your bladder is fully drained from urine and mucus. Maintain good personal, hand and catheter hygiene.

How much should I drink?

You should drink at least 2 – 3 litres of fluid a day.

Does everything have to be sterile and do I have to wear gloves when catheterising?

Intermittent self catheterisation is a clean technique and not sterile. You do not need to wear gloves, however it is important careful hand washing, both before and after using your catheter, is important to have good personal, hand and catheter hygiene.

Should I do bladder washout?

Bladder wash outs help to prevent stones and remove any debris in the bladder. It is advisable to wash the bladder out at least once a week. A healthcare professional will tell you more about this.

How much saline water should I use? 

Approximately 150 – 200mls per week.

Is a bladder wash out painful?

It may feel a little strange but it is not painful.

Leaking from the Mitrofanoff?

This can happen, you must contact the hospital and you may need future tests and surgery.

I am still incontinent between catheterising, why is this?

If you have been dry, and you become incontinent again, this could show signs of an infection, poor bladder emptying or a change in bladder behaviour. You should contact a healthcare professional.

Will I get bladder spasms?

Bladder spasms are more common post-operatively and when recovering from surgery. You can also develop spasms with a urinary tract infection.

Will I still be able to have a bath?

Once your wounds have started to heal and the sutures have been removed you will be able to have a shallow bath.

Will I still be able to swim?

Once your wounds have fully healed you will be able to go swimming. It is advisable to wear a waterproof dressing over the Mitrofanoff while you are in the water.

Will I still be able to wear normal clothes?

You will still be able to wear the same clothes. You may have to consider the waistline on trousers as some clothes may rub.

Can weight cause problems with catheterising?

Weight can cause problems. This can be more so when there is a decrease in weight rather than an increase in weight.

Will I still be able to drive?

You will be able to drive; your surgeon will advise you when you are ready to do so.

When will I be able to go back to work, after my surgery?

You should be recovered enough to return to work after 3 months but you must be careful. Do not rush around straight away or go into full time work, as your body will not be able to cope with it.

How long will it be before sports can be played?

If you are fit for work and have fully recovered from the procedure then you can participate in sporting activities. Prior to participating in more physical and challenging sports you should check with your surgeon, that you are able to do so.

Will it affect my sex life?

With men if the prostate gland, which sits directly below the bladder is removed when having surgery due to illness or disease this can affect sexual function. You should discuss this with a healthcare professional.

With women there is a body of tissue between a small area of bladder and the vagina, which has a shared blood supply. If this area is removed due to surgery this can affect sexual function. You should discuss this with a healthcare professional.

Will I be able to go on holiday?

You can still travel and go on holiday. See travel for more details.

Will I be able to have a baby and become pregnant?

A Mitrofanoff will not prevent pregnancy. The surgeon will tell you if this is not possible due to other medical complications. You may be referred to a gynaecologist, if the urologist thinks it is necessary.

Here are some questions you may want to ask a health professional before having your operation:

  • What other alternatives are there to the Mitrofanoff procedure?

  • Can you choose where the Mitrofanoff stoma will be?

  • What happens in the preparation, during and after the surgery?

  • How long will the surgery take?

  • Will I be in pain or discomfort?

  • What complications can arise during the operation and afterwards?

  • Will I use the Mitrofanoff immediately after I wake up from the operation?

  • How long am I likely to be in hospital?

  • What support do I get once I leave hospital, e.g. visit from community nurse, follow up appointments?

  • Who should I contact if I have problems using my Mitrofanoff?

  • How do people get their catheters once they have left hospital?

  • Will I be able to lead a normal life?