Embracing Change With Intermittent Catheters

Anne Cooper is living with Multiple Sclerosis. She wants others to know that with the right continence products, support, and advice, it's never too late to learn new things and live life fully. 

Read about Anne's journey and find inspiration in her adaptability.

Anne Cooper is 72 and currently lives in Perth, Australia. In 1985, while living in England, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She moved to Perth in 1989 and in the 1990s she began experiencing bladder issues. She underwent a procedure to support her bladder, however, it was ineffective and she wore absorbent pads for 30 years. 

Seeking medical help and learning to self-catheterise 

Last year, Anne's MS nurse expressed concern about her frequent bathroom trips and accidents. She referred Anne to a urology clinic, where tests confirmed that her bladder problems were MS-related. The specialist recommended intermittent self-catheterisation (ISC) four times a day. 

Anne received tremendous support from her MS nurse and from a specialist incontinence nurse who guided her through the ISC process. Their thorough training helped Anne feel comfortable self-catheterising, even when traveling. One memorable incident involved using a catheter by the roadside during a camping holiday, only to have a farmer stop to offer help. 

Adapting and persevering 

When it comes to ISC, Anne encourages others to persevere, since she knows that it can be challenging for some people. Anne eventually transitioned from catheters with collection bags to straight catheters, and it was easier than she expected. Initially, finding her urethra was challenging, but with practice – and by using a mirror – she improved significantly.  

Over time, Anne has adjusted to the sensations of catheterisation which, while unusual, are neither painful nor uncomfortable. She also maintains strict hygiene practices to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) that can occur during the catheterisation process. 

Getting support from Hollister Secure Start services 

Anne’s family and friends are aware of her condition and have been incredibly supportive – as has her husband, who has assisted her from the beginning. The Hollister Secure Start services program also has been a great source of support for Anne. Secure Start Representatives check in with her regularly and send her samples of different intermittent catheters. Trying various catheters has allowed Anne to find which ones work best for her, considering both functionality and cost. The program, which is free, has been a lifeline for Anne, especially during holidays when the team ensured that she had enough supplies.  

Anne's advice to others who use catheters is not to be ashamed of needing them – it’s just another medical condition. Embrace it, trust yourself, and have patience. Her journey has shown that it's never too late to learn new things, and ISC has helped her live her life to the fullest. Now, she spends her days cooking and gardening. She also cares for her husband, her two dogs, and occasionally her two grandchildren. 


People who provided testimonials received compensation from Hollister Incorporated. The testimonials, statements, and opinions presented are applicable to the people depicted. These testimonials are representative of their experience, but the exact results and experience will be unique and individual to each person.