Intermittent or repeated men self-catheterization is the placing of a thin tube (urinary catheter) through the urethra and into the bladder for the purpose of emptying the bladder when normal urine evacuation is not possible. It’s called intermittent because as soon as the bladder is empty, the catheter is removed. The process is repeated throughout the day whenever the bladder fills-up. This procedure doesn’t need to be done at a hospital. The patient, family members or a caretaker can do it at home. Just follow guidelines given by a health care professional, including maintaining aseptic conditions to prevent infections. Please note, a patient should be helped until confident of performing the complete catheterization alone.
Gather Self-Catheterization Supplies
You need to have the following ready:
- Water and soap to clean your hands.
- The urine catheter brand and type your health care provider has recommended.
- A wash cloth.
- Water soluble lubricant such as K-Y jelly. Never use Vaseline or other petroleum jelly products.
- Toilet roll.
- A measuring container for holding urine. It could be a urine bag.
- Plastic bag.
- Place all the items on a clean surface and at an easily reachable distance.
- Wash your hands with soap and dry them well.
- Put a good amount of lubricant on a paper towel.
- Lubricate about six inches of the catheter from the tip and then place the catheter on a clean surface within your reach.
- You can half-sit or lie on a bed.
- Wash your penis in circular motions using soap and water. Do this from the tip towards the root of the penis (base)
- Pull back the foreskin if you are not circumcised and wash the glans penis (head) gently but thoroughly.
- Hold the penis at an angle of 60-75 degrees in relation to your body.
- Stretch the penis softly while maintaining the angle (60-75 degrees) so as to open a clear path to the urethra.
- Gently insert the catheter into your urethra and push slowly until you see urine flowing out. This happens when the catheter has reached 8-10 inches into the urethra. Push the catheter one more inch after urine starts flowing.
- If you encounter some resistance just before getting into the bladder, don’t panic. This is normal. Push very gently to get past this point.
- Let urine flow out until the bladder is empty. Create some abdominal pressure to push out any urine residue in the bladder.
- Gently pull out the catheter when no more urine is coming out.
- Check and record the amount of urine drained.
- Put away everything and clean your hands properly.
- Dispose of the catheter after use
Always adhere to catheter manufacturers’ guidelines. If a catheter is for single use it must be from a sterile packaging and a new one must be used for every catheterization. If a single use catheter is used repeatedly even with sterilization, there are risks of infections and damage to the urethra.