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Alison Hodgson

Retired Nurse and Catheter User, Convatec GentleCathTM Advocate

Retired NHS nurse Alison Hodgson, 51, from the West Midlands has primary progressive multiple sclerosis. One of the symptoms is her bladder health, requiring the use of an intermittent catheter.

What is your experience with catheters?

I was shown how to use intermittent catheters to fully empty my bladder because if there is any stale urine left in it increases the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). I was getting UTIs every month and the infections would not seem to go. I was really scared as all I could see was a disability and something that would make me more isolated and keep me at home.

What was your first experience of using an intermittent catheter?

I tried several different catheters, and eventually found this Convatec catheter through trial and error. There is a little sachet of water with the GentleCath™ Glide catheter, which activates the hydrophilic properties embedded in the catheter to make it slippery.

What is good about this catheter?

With other catheters, the hydrophilic coating is sticky and I found that when withdrawing the catheter, it left a residue in my urethra and I was getting UTIs. When I found that GentleCath™ did not have a sticky coating, I cried. I have been using it for 18 months now and my infections have significantly decreased.

How has your current catheter improved your life?

It gives me freedom to go out, to go on holiday and socialise with my friends. Before, I would literally plan my route by where the toilets are because I could not go 20 minutes without needing the toilet. It gives me the freedom to be more independent and live my life.

What would your advice be to people who are experiencing continence issues?

Do not be afraid to seek help, especially when you are having infections. Keep going back to speak to your GP or practice nurse as they can refer you to community continence teams and find the right solution for you.

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