Urology and catheters.

 Urology and catheters.
The words half us of us may not understand, and the other half don't like to speak about.

No one expects a 17year old girl to use catheters. Instead we think of older people, perhaps in hospital or care homes that don't have full bladder control, yet it is estimated that 1 in 2 of us will be affected by a urology condition in our lifetime. It just isn't always spoken about! I've often been told that I don't look like someone who catheterises or someone who can't go to the loo normally, and I tend to respond with 'there are criminals who don't look like serial killers, but here we are!'

Our perceptions are shaped by what we know and associate topics like this with. So I feel it's hugely important to explain to people that urology conditions can originate from various conditions in anyone at any age or gender such as;

-Cancers of the kidneys, bladder and prostate
-Birth defects
-Multiple sclerosis
-Bladder infections
The list goes on…

Catheterising can be a taboo subject so I want to help explain the basics of why its so important…because not doing it is a whole lot worse than doing it.
If I regularly catheterise and manage my bladder I can stay clean, keep my kidneys healthy, reduce infection risk and live my life to the full. If I don't? I risk leaking everywhere, kidney retention, infection growth and heightened risk- alongside giving myself a sure fire way to end up in hospital in the long run.
Every day, every achievement I have and task I complete isn't despite of being catheterised (amongst other health management tools)- its actually because I catheterise- so not doing it is much worse than actually doing !

I want to give a quick myth busting session to help put some frequently distorted views and thoughts to bed.
-'It's only 'old' people who have urologic problems' -I was born with mine, and have catheterised since age 3.
-'Catheters look like a long garden hose!' -Thanks to innovative products like the Lofric sense from Wellspect , my catheters now fit discretely in my makeup bag and are similar length to a mascara wand, instead of the classic 1metre long tubing.
-'Bladder and kidney problems are caused by being unhygienic' -Urology conditions can occur regardless of how hygienic you are (contrary to many peoples beliefs), and some infections cannot be avoided through cleanliness.
-'People who catheterise can't do 'normal' activities' - I ride horses, go on sleepovers, attend music festivals and used to be in full time education..all because catheterising actually helped me live my life to the full.
-'You cant be in a relationship if you have urology problems' -It's a lie, the only difference is you're more likely to weed out the 'bad ones' through natural selection, telling people and being open will often leave you with true friends that accept you for who you are- and that's what we all need anyways isn't it? I'd say it's an advantage to help stay clear of any 'bad eggs'.

I hope this helped to shed some light on a subject that isn't often spoken about. Please bare it in mind if you do have a friend, family member, colleague etc that is effected by a urologic condition. And to
all those living with a urology condition, you are not alone.❤️

Yours sincerely,
The teenager who 'doesn't look like she can't pee.'
-(Evie Toombes) Xx

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