What is Intermittent Self Catheterisation (ISC)?

Intermittent catheterisation, either by yourself or your carer, is a clean technique.  It involves the insertion of a small catheter into the bladder at regular intervals.  This allows you to drain the urine from your bladder if you are unable to void naturally. The catheter is then removed leaving you free to go about your daily life.


ISC is not a new technique; it has been around for many years

  • Egyptians used reeds which drained into urns

  • Romans used lead pipes

  • Victorians used silver and lead catheters


The clean technique/Clean Intermittent Catheterisation (CIC)

CIC was pioneered by Lapides & his colleagues in the early 1970s. It refers to the clean technique (routine hand washing and drying, good hygiene standards) transforming ISC into a safe and simple technique.


What are the advantages of ISC?

  • Patient gains independence, retaining and improving their quality of life

  • Easy to learn

  • Urinary tract infections are reduced

  • Patient is in control of their own bladder

  • Normal sexual relationships are not affected

  • No incontinence; no smells

  • Significant protection from upper tract reflux (avoiding kidney failure)

  • No longer the need for a permanent in-dwelling catheter, therefore preventing problems such as bladder neck damage and erosion of the meatus