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How to Self-Catheterise

These generalised instructions are to help you feel more confident in the process and your routine.

It may be helpful to review this guide before you start using intermittent catheters so you can feel comfortable and confident throughout each of the 5 steps in the process.

Let’s get started.

First, thoroughly wash and dry your hands, using warm, soapy water to help reduce the risk of infection.

When you’re ready, get into the position you find most comfortable near or on the toilet. If using a wheelchair, you can position yourself comfortably in your wheelchair or transfer to the toilet.

Now, clean your genital area with warm soapy water or a wipe. For the male anatomy, if necessary, gently pull back your foreskin to clean your penis, particularly around the entrance to your urethra. For the female anatomy, gently wipe from front to back.

Next, you’ll need to prepare your catheter following the manufacturer’s instructions for use. There are several different types of intermittent catheters so check which type you have been prescribed before you start.

Some may include a separate lubrication packet or water sachet to activate the catheter before use. Others may be immediately ready for use. This information can be found in the manufacturer's instructions.

You may also have additional supplies, like an insertion kit or a closed-system catheter with a collection bag attached.

Be careful not to touch the length of the catheter to avoid the risk of infection as you remove it from the packaging.

Once your product is ready to use, you’ll be ready to insert it.

Male Anatomy:

  • Hold your penis near the end. You can pull it slightly to help stretch and straighten the urethra. Now, point your penis up towards your stomach, making your urethra into a U-bend shape. Be mindful not to squeeze your penis too hard as this can block or narrow the urethra.
  • You can now begin inserting the catheter tip into your urethral opening. If you’re using a catheter with a Coudé tip, ensure the curved tip is facing upwards, towards your nose.
  • Slowly and steadily insert the catheter through your urethra.
  • You may encounter slight resistance from the catheter, meaning you’ve reached your internal urethral sphincter. Do not pull the catheter in and out when you start to notice resistance; just apply gentle but firm continuous pressure until the catheter advances into the bladder.
  • Now, while pointing your penis down, continue to push the catheter until urine begins to drain, at which point you know you’ve inserted it properly and it has reached your bladder.
  • Now let the urine flow out of the catheter and into the toilet or collection bag.

 

Female Anatomy:

  • In your comfortable position, you’ll want to spread your labia and lift gently upwards to find your urethra.
  • Once you’re confident in finding your urethra, you’ll need to make sure the catheter tip does not touch any other part of your body and isn’t inserted anywhere else. If it does, you’ll need to use a new catheter before inserting it into the urethral opening.
  • When ready, you will begin to slowly and steadily insert the catheter into your urethra.
    Continue to push the catheter in until urine begins to drain, at which point you’ll know you’ve inserted it properly and it has reached your bladder.
  • Push it in another inch, about half a thumb length, or two centimeters, to ensure that both holes at the tip of the catheter are in the bladder.
  • Now the urine will flow out of the catheter and into the toilet or a urine collection bag.

Once the urine has stopped flowing, you’ll gently begin to remove the catheter from your urethra.
If more urine begins to flow, stop moving the catheter until it finishes.

You’ll want to be sure that your bladder has been sufficiently emptied.

You can then continue to remove the catheter, taking your time and ensuring you don’t rush. You may notice a small amount of urine still comes out, but this is common and nothing to worry about.

You can now clean up. Dispose of the catheter and any additional supplies by throwing them into a trash can, along with the packaging.

If you are using a urine collection bag, you can also discard it or drain it into the toilet when finished. Intermittent catheters are single-use only. Be sure to use a new catheter each time you self-catheterise, as this can help reduce the risk of infections.1

Lastly, you’ll need to thoroughly wash and dry your hands when you’re done.

1. Håkansson MÅ. Reuse versus single-use catheters for intermittent catheterization: what is safe and preferred? Review of current status. Spinal Cord. 2014;52(7):511-516. doi:10.1038/sc.2014.79

That's it! Those are the 5 steps to self-catheterisation. The goal of this guide is to provide you with generalised instructions to help you feel more confident in the process and your routine. Remember that everyone is different, so the routine that works best for you might look slightly different and that’s okay.

You can continue to feel supported throughout your journey with access to a wide range of resources. If you want to learn more about cathing with products from the GentleCath™ portfolio click below.

Learn with GentleCath™ products Explore products

Enroll in me+™ or Request Product Samples

The me+™ support program offers tools to help make life as a catheter user completely your own. Enroll in me+™ or request free product samples. Experience the latest technology and discover answers to the most commonly asked cathing questions.

Adjusting to cathing can be tough, with a range of practical, physical and emotional challenges. You don’t have to figure it out alone.

Speak to one of our friendly product specialists today.

Call 0800 587 7560 (Monday - Friday: 9AM - 5PM).

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