Experiences from indwelling urinary catheter treatment periods were studied. Little is known of what is felt from a male perspective although catheter treatment is a common pre- and postoperative measure for men with prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Also studied were health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and sense of coherence (SOC). Men with catheter experience (prostate cancer n = 71, BPH n = 37) were selected from a larger questionnaire study. Assessment was made with study-specific questions together with the QLQ C-30 assessing HRQOL and the SOC questionnaire measuring sense of coherence. Data reduction method was applied to study specific variables to determine problem patterns. Correlation between HRQOL and SOC was determined. Results showed similar problem patterns in men with prostate cancer and BPH: discomfort in wearing catheter (e.g. uneasiness 48.2%), practical and psychosocial difficulties in handling and wearing catheter (e.g. attaching catheter 32.4%) and discomfort at installation (e.g. pain 29.7%). There was lack of knowledge about wearing and practical handling of the catheter. Having a cancer diagnosis did not add to uneasiness or practical problems. Life quality was correlated to SOC (p <or= 0.001).