Trial Without Catheter

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-458/2021
  • Departments: Urology
  • Last Updated: 11 June 2021


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

What is a Trial without catheter?

A trial without catheter is when a catheter which has been inserted via the urethra (water pipe) is removed from the bladder to determine whether you are able to pass urine spontaneously.

Why do I need a trial without catheter?

There are many different reasons why a catheter may have been inserted into your bladder and your nurse or doctor can discuss this with you. You may have received treatment or surgery that will help your bladder function on its own without a catheter.  If you have a catheter inserted you are at risk from infections and other problems, therefore it needs to be removed as soon as possible so that your bladder remains healthy.

Can there be any complications or risks?

There may be a slight risk of a urine infection following removal of your catheter. You should contact your doctor if you feel unwell, have a high temperature or your urine becomes cloudy and smelly.  After your catheter is removed occasionally some patients find that they start to experience discomfort, difficulty in passing urine or that they cannot pass urine at all. If this happens after you are discharged home you should contact the department on the telephone number at the end of this leaflet or speak to your doctor.

How do I prepare for the trial without catheter?

You may eat and drink as normal. You can expect to remain in hospital for up to eight hours (although it may be much less) so it may a good idea to bring something to do such as reading a book or magazine.

What will happen?

You will have received written information advising you where to attend for your trial without catheter. This may be the main ward or the day services department. You should report to the receptionist who will show you where to wait for the nurse.

The nurse will greet you and take you to a private area with a comfortable couch so the nurse can remove your catheter. This is a very simple procedure which involves deflating the catheter balloon (which you will not feel) and then gently sliding the catheter out of your bladder.  For some patients this may be momentarily uncomfortable.  In rare instances after specific surgery your catheter may be stitched in place. If this is the case the nurse will remove the stitch before removing your catheter.

It is not uncommon to feel the urge to pass urine straightaway after removing your catheter. However your bladder will be virtually empty at this stage so you may only pass a few drops.

You may then get dressed and you will be shown to a chair or bed space. The nurse will provide you with a jug of water and encourage you to drink plenty of fluids to help you bladder fill up. When you feel the urge to pass urine you should use the jugs that you have been provided with so that it can be measured.

The nurse will monitor your progress and will check that your bladder is emptying satisfactorily using a bladder scanner.  Some patients may be unable to pass urine satisfactorily and may require re-catheterisation in order that your bladder may be emptied. The nurse or doctor will discuss further treatment options with you.

What happens afterwards?

When the nurse is satisfied that your bladder is working properly and you are able to pass urine independently you will be discharged home. It is normal to experience a slight stinging sensation for a day of two after removal of your catheter. You may resume normal daily activities and sexual activities as soon as you feel comfortable to do so.

You should drink plenty of fluids (about 2 – 3 litres) over the next few days to flush any debris out of your bladder and to help prevent infection.

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the Urology Department, Ward 15: (01482) 623015 Day services: (01482) 622193

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.