Inserting Hydrophilic Catheters

Hydrophilic catheters are manufactured with a ‘water-loving’ coating so they arrive ready to use. It also saves the patient time by not having to lubricate the catheter. Hydrophilic coating just means that they are covered with a substance that is activated with water. Such coating makes a flat, soft and oily surface when it gets it touch with water, making the insertion procedure much easier and less painful for the patient.

Here are some basic steps on how to use a hydrophilic catheter:

  • Have all your medical supplies ready and near you.

  • Wash your hands (you can also use antibacterial gel) and put on medical gloves, you can also use antibacterial gel.

  • Cleanse your genital area in circular movements, especially around the urethra opening, using water and antiseptic soap or use a cotton swab treated with antibacterial agents (Betadine) if available. You can also use disposable wipes with benzalkonium chloride.

  • Hydrophilic catheters have a saline solution, free of any microbial presence, which can be on the inside of the package or in a separate aluminum package. If the catheter has one of these separate packages, you need to first open it and apply it to the catheter to activate the hydrophilic properties of it. Make sure that the entire solution is applied and allow 30 seconds to hydrate completely.

  • Once activated, remove the catheter from the package.

  • For men, aim the penis upwards and hold it at a 45-degree angle from your stomach. Insert the catheter slowly into your urethra. If there is resistance when the catheter reaches the urethral sphincter, breathe deeply and gently apply pressure. Do not force the catheter. When the urine starts to flow, insert the catheter another inch more and slightly lower the angle of your penis. Allow the urine to flow in the toilet or into another container. When the fluid of urine finishes, slowly remove the catheter.

For women, make yourself comfortable by seating on the toilet and relax your body. Slowly and gently insert the catheter into your urethra, make sure you use gentle movements. Continue to insert the catheter until it reaches your bladder without forcing it through the urethral sphincter. Once urine starts to flow, insert the catheter another inch more. When the flow stops, remove the catheter slowly to ensure that you drain any remaining urine at the base of your bladder.

  • You can dispose of the catheter with the packaging. Do not flush it down the toilet.

The instructions provided are intended as complimentary tips to the advice you have been given by your nurse, physician or specialist.

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