A bit over six months ago I theorized in a blog post, "Diet could play a role when having a problem inserting a urinary catheter."
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.
Now I'm even more confident that this is the case.
I'm not saying that my experience is common, since as I noted in that first post, some Googling revealed that basically the only foods people using intermittent self-catheterization are told to be cautious about is caffeine/coffee and alcoholic beverages, since these are bladder irritants.
In August of this year I learned that my 50 year-old daughter has been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. That got me to thinking that maybe my digestion issues could be described with that rather catch-all term.
My daughter was having stomach pain, though, while my primary problem was diarrhea in the mid to late afternoon. That indicated to me that certain foods probably were causing the loose bowel movements, since it didn't happen all the time.
So I started to study the FODMAP diet, downloading the FODMAP app for my iPhone developed by Monash University. I cut quite a few foods out of my diet: soy milk, apples, applesauce, oats, tomatoes, broccoli, pizza, soft cheese -- basically everything that the FODMAP app said could be bothersome.
I've been sticking with this FODMAP diet for several months. It could be a coincidence, but I've been having fewer problems with inserting a catheter five times a day now. It feels to me that as my digestive tract has calmed down, so has the difficulty I used to have getting a urinary catheter into my bladder.
Obviously I'm not conducting a scientific experiment. This is just my personal experience. I wanted to share it in the hope that perhaps some other catheter user would find that experience helpful, or at least interesting, to them.