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Adding Voiding Maneuvers to Your Bladder Management Routine to Improve Bladder Emptying

Do you struggle with urinary retention and fully emptying your bladder during intermittent self-catheterization?

If you are unable to fully empty your bladder with self-catheterization, you are leaving residual urine in the bladder, making you susceptible to developing a urinary tract infection.

Adding various voiding maneuvers to your bladder management routine may help improve urinary retention and prevent urinary retention.

Voiding Maneuvers


Roughly 70-80% of ISC users experience anxiety and encounter difficulties during self-catheterization. Anxiety and nervousness during self-catheterization can cause the bladder and sphincter muscles to tense, making it harder to self-cath. Taking a few deep breaths or even coughing can help loosen the bladder sphincter and make it easier to insert your catheter and void fully.

Valsalva Maneuver

The Valsalva Maneuver can help empty the bladder by straining the abdominal muscles to increase pressure within the bladder. The Valsalva Maneuver can be used by those with incomplete spinal cord injuries, as it requires you to bear down and squeeze the abdominal muscles.

Crede Maneuver

The Crede Maneuver is a technique that helps push urine out of the bladder with manual pressure. The Crede’ Maneuver can be done by yourself or with a caregiver and may be helpful with tetraplegia individuals. To stimulate the voiding reflex using the Crede maneuver, apply manual pressure on the lower abdomen, just below the navel. When performing the Crede maneuver, one must be careful to only provide firm downward pressure from the navel. If the hand moves upward, it can result in the refluxing of urine back up into the bladder, which then can result in a UTI.

Suprapubic Tapping

Suprapubic tapping involves tapping rhythmically between the belly button and the pubis to stimulate the nerve reflex that triggers urination. Rhythmic suprapubic tapping can be one of the most helpful voiding maneuvers for individuals with complete spinal cord injuries.

Improve Bladder Emptying with Proper Self-Catheterization Technique

In addition to voiding maneuvers, intermittent catheter users should always check for additional fluid prior to removing the catheter after self-catheterization. To check for additional fluid in the bladder, pull the catheter out about ½” when urine initially stops flowing from the catheter. This helps position the catheter eyelets lower in the bladder and ensures your bladder is fully emptied.

It is important to speak with your doctor if you believe you are not emptying your bladder fully. Incomplete bladder emptying not only adds to your cathing frequency but can also overstretch the bladder and put you at risk for developing a urinary tract infection. Adding voiding maneuvers to your bladder management routine can help improve bladder emptying and prevent urinary retention.

Try MTG Catheters for Free

If you suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections, speak to your doctor about the benefits of using closed system catheters and request a free sample of MTG closed system catheters today.

MTG EZ-Advancer Female Closed System Catheter

The information included in this article are tips only and not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare professional before adding voiding maneuvers to your bladder management routine.