I've been doing the intermittent urinary catheterization thing five times a day since my bladder became atonic in May 2017, a bit over five years ago.
Or as I like to say, my bladder went on strike back then and hasn't returned to work since. At least, not very well. I can pee some on my own, but not enough to stop using a catheter to empty my bladder.
At times I've suffered from some pretty severe anxiety and depression, which I described in an essay 180 Medical asked me to write. I've also wondered whether anyone cares about my blog posts where I talk about some aspect of my urinary catheter life.
It could well be that most men who have to use a catheter have a much easier time with it than I have. That would explain the lack of interest in my blog posts, assuming they're discoverable via Google. Or maybe men just aren't into reading about health issues, another real possibility.
(I realize that women have to use a urinary catheter also. Yet since I only know what it is like for a man to catheterize, I have to talk from a male perspective.)
When it comes to diet, about the only clear piece of advice I've found on the internet is to limit or avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks. That's because caffeine is a bladder irritant, and anyone who has to use a catheter already has an irritated bladder -- at least in the sense of not working well.
I started by drinking half-caf coffee: half regular and half decaf. Then I went to total decaf, after finding the coffee still seemed to irritate my bladder and make it more difficult to catheterize. After learning that even decaf coffee can have quite a bit of caffeine, I now drink Cafix, a coffee substitute. But I miss coffee, and frequently consider having a cup of regular coffee.
I asked my urologist if he thought diet could play a role in the difficulty I sometimes have inserting a catheter. His answer: "Maybe." Not very helpful, as that left it to me to figure out my own answer.
After a lot of experimenting with different foods (I'm a health-minded 73 year old vegetarian), I'm pretty confident that yes, at least for me, diet does affect how easy it is for me to insert a catheter into my bladder.
I seem to have found that "gassy" foods are bad for my catheterizing. I'm not sure of this, but it makes some sense, since the prostate and colon are close together, and in men a catheter has to pass through the prostate on the way to the bladder. Thus a distended intestine could affect the passage of a catheter.
As a vegetarian I tend to have frequent bowel movements rather than infrequent. Once I totaled up how much fiber I eat in a day. It was a lot. So regularity isn't a problem. If anything it is being too regular, sometimes with loose stools that can be diarrhea-like.
Recently I've been dialing back the amount of fiber I eat in the morning, shifting from one type of cereal to another. I can't be sure how this will affect my catheter use long-term, but so far this has coincided with an easier time inserting a catheter.
Anyway, I might be unique in this regard, since like I said, I've found very little information about the relation of diet to having difficulty inserting a urinary catheter when I Googled this subject.
I'm quite confident diet is a factor in how easily I'm able to get a catheter into my bladder, but I readily admit that I could be wrong about this.