How to Use Self Catheters

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Self catheters allow individuals with nervous system or neurological disorders and those with general problems urinating to remove the urine from their bladders. Females with certain gynecological surgeries may also need to use self catheters for the same purpose. Males and females must use different techniques to use self catheters properly. The proper and regular use of self catheters helps to avoid further bladder or kidney damage, avoid urinary tract infections and allow the bladder to be emptied when full.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen
  • Log book
  • Self catheter kit
  • Toilet paper
  • Clean zip-lock bag
  • Non-scented soap
  • Water
  • Non-scented throwaway wipes
  • Water soluble lubricant
  • Toilet top plastic measuring container (for those who use the toilet)
  • Bedpan (for those who must remain lying down)

Female Instructions

Prepare the area. Place the toilet top measuring container in the toilet. Place the lube, self catheter kit and throwaway wipes within arms reach of the toilet. Adjust all of your clothing so that it will not hinder the process. Attempt to urinate into the measuring container. Measure the volume of urine and write it down in the log book. Empty the container into the toilet. Flush the toilet.

Rinse the container with warm water and place it back into the toilet.

Prepare the catheter. Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Use the warm water to rinse the catheter. Dry your hands. Lubricate approximately 2 inches from the tip of the catheter down with the water-soluble lubricant. Place the catheter on a clean, dry surface within arm's reach.

Use soap and warm water to wash your perineum. You must separate your labia and wash from front to back to ensure that the area is clean.

Adjust your body to allow easy access to your urethra. Place one end of the catheter into the measuring container. Separate the labia and insert approximately 3 inches of the catheter into your urethra.

Wait for the urine to begin to flow. Push the catheter an additional inch into the urethra. Push gently on your abdominal muscles to assist the evacuation. Wait for all of the urine to drain from your bladder.

Pull out the catheter slowly. Stop pulling if urine begins to flow. Allow the urine flow to cease before continuing. Finish removing the catheter.

Use toilet paper to wipe from front to back.

Write down the amount of liquid in the measuring container. Empty the contents into the toilet and flush.

Wash the catheter, the measuring container and your hands with soap and warm water. Wait for the catheter to air dry and place it into the clean zip-lock bag. Clean the work area.

Male Instructions

Prepare the work area according to the same instructions outlined for females in the previous section.

Attempt to empty your bladder into the measuring container and write down the volume in the log book.

Empty the container and flush the toilet. Wash the container with warm water.

Wash your hands with soap and water. Rinse the catheter with water. Dry your hands and lubricate approximately 6 inches of the catheter. Place the catheter on a clean surface within reach.

Wash your penis thoroughly with soap and water from tip to base. Remember to pull back the foreskin if you are uncircumcised.

Hold your penis at an angle between 60 and 75 degrees to allow easier access to the urethra.

Place one end of the catheter into the measuring container. Insert the catheter 6 to 8 inches into the urethra. Use gentle pressure to push the catheter into the bladder until the urine begins to flow. Insert the catheter an additional inch into the bladder and gently push down on your abdominal muscles to facilitate the evacuation.

Wait for the urine to stop flowing, indicating that the bladder is empty.

Remove the catheter slowly. If urine begins to flow, stop and allow the flow to abate before continuing. Remove the catheter from the urethra completely.

Wipe the head of your penis with toilet paper to remove the lubrication. Pull the foreskin forward if you are uncircumcised.

Write down the volume of urine in the measuring container. Dump the contents in the toilet and flush.

Wash your hands, the catheter and the measuring container with soap and warm water. Allow the catheter to air dry and place it in a clean zip-lock bag.

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