How to Insert a Male Catheter

Three Parts:Gathering the Necessary SuppliesInserting the CatheterAddressing Common Issues with the Catheter

A catheter may be used if you are having difficulties urinating on your own due to an illness, a disease, an injury or an infection.[1] You should only insert a catheter at the recommendation of your doctor, and if possible, have the catheter inserted by a trained medical professional. If you would like to insert a catheter at home, you will need to gather the necessary supplies and insert the catheter properly. You can then address common issues that may arise with the catheter so it functions correctly.

Part 1
Gathering the Necessary Supplies

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    Purchase a catheter. You will need to use a 12-14 Fr male Foley catheter, as this catheter has the smallest diameter and will provide good drainage. You can find Foley catheters at medical supplies stores, online, or through your doctor.[2]
    • If you have an obstruction in your urinary tract, you may need a 3-way irrigation larger catheter. You may not want to attempt to insert a larger catheter on your own and should instead seek the assistance of a nurse or a doctor.
    • Some catheters come in a kit, with the catheter and antiseptic solution that you can pour on the catheter to sterilize it. You should follow the procedures on the kit to make sure the catheter is sterile before you use it.
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    Get water-based lubricating jelly. You will need the lubricating jelly to make the top of the catheter slick. This will make it easier to insert the catheter into your penis.[3][4]
    • Make sure the lubricating jelly is water-based, as this will less irritating to your urinary tract. You can find water-based lubricating jelly at your local drugstore or pharmacy.
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    Have a container ready for the urine. You will need a container or a urine bag ready to collect the urine once it comes out of the catheter. You can use a small deep plastic container or a bag designed to collect urine.
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    Use a bath towel or a waterproof pad. You will also need a thick bath towel to place underneath you to catch any urine or water during the insertion. If you have access to a waterproof pad that you can sit on, this will work as well.[5][6]
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    Get medical gloves. If possible, you should get medical gloves that you can put on so your hands are clean and protected during the insertion process. You can find medical gloves at a medical supply store or online.[7][8]
    • If you do not have access to medical gloves, you can get a bowl of clean water and soap to wash your hands in. You may also need a hand towel to dry your hands before you insert the catheter.

Part 2
Inserting the Catheter

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    Wash your hands with soap and water. You should start by washing your hands well with warm water and soap. If you have access to medical gloves, you may put them on before you unwrap the catheter.[9]
    • Make sure your hands are clean and the area around you is clean before you take out the catheter from the package. You may also choose an area in your home that is open and free of obstructions, like the floor of your bathroom. Make sure the floor is clean.
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    Get into a seated position. You will need to sit down with your legs bent. Place the bath towel or the waterproof pad underneath your penis once you are seated. You should have easy access to your penis with your hands.[10]
    • You may also decide to stand in front of the toilet if it is comfortable for you to reach down and hold your penis. You could then point the end of the catheter into the toilet so it drains into the toilet directly.
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    Clean the area around your penis. Wash your penis with warm water, soap, and a washcloth. Clean the area in circular motions. If you are not circumcised, pull back the foreskin and wash your penis well.[11]
    • Make sure you wash the head of your penis and the urinary meatus, which is the small opening where your urine comes out.
    • Once you are done, rinse and dry your penis well. Then, place the container you are using to collect the urine next to your thigh so it is easy to access.
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    Put lubricating jelly on the catheter. Hold the top section of the catheter and put lubricating jelly on the catheter. You want to cover the first seven to ten inches (18 cm to 25 cm) of the catheter with the jelly. This will make the insertion less uncomfortable.[12]
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    Insert the catheter slowly. Use your non-dominant hand to hold your penis so it straight out in front of your body. Your penis should be at an angle of 60 to 90 degrees. Hold the catheter in your dominate hand and slowly insert in into the urinary meatus, or the small opening on the top of your penis.[13][14]
    • Put the catheter around seven to ten inches (18 cm to 25 cm) into your penis using a gentle, pushing motion. Once urine starts to flow through the catheter, you can push the catheter up one inch (2.54 cm) more and keep it in place until you are done urinating.
    • Make sure the other end of the catheter is positioned in a container or in the toilet so the urine can be collected and disposed of properly.
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    Inflate the collection bag on the catheter, if there is one. Some catheters have a collection bag that you need to inflate with a sterile needle once the catheter has been inserted. You should use a sterile need to inflate the collection bag with 10ml of sterile water. The volume of water needed to fill the bag may vary depending on the size of the catheter you are using so you should always check the packaging on the catheter for the exact volume.[15]
    • You should then attach the collection bag to the catheter so it can hold the urine as you urinate. The collection bag should rest on the urethral opening of your bladder so the urine can be collected properly.
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    Remove the catheter as soon as you have urinated. You should always remove the catheter as soon as you are done urinating, as leaving the catheter in can cause urinary tract issues. To remove the catheter, pinch the top closed with your dominant hand and slowly pull out the catheter. Keep the end of the catheter facing upward so no urine drips or dribbles out.[16]
    • If there is a collection bag, you should remove the bag and dispose of it properly in the garbage.
    • You can then pull your foreskin down if you are not circumcised to protect your penis.
    • Remove and throw away your medical gloves. Wash your hands well.
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    Clean the catheter. If the catheter is reusable according to the manufacturer's instructions, you should wash it with soap and warm water after every use. You should also sterilize it in a pan of boiling water for 20 minutes to prevent infection and let it dry on a paper towel. Store the catheter in a clean plastic bag.[17]
    • If the catheter is single-use only, you should throw it away and use a new one. You should also throw away any catheters that appear torn, hardened, or cracked.
    • Depending on your doctor’s recommendations, you may need to use the catheter at least four times a day to ensure you are urinating regularly.

Part 3
Addressing Common Issues with the Catheter

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    Rotate the catheter if no urine comes out. You may find that no urine comes out of the catheter when you insert it. You can try rotating the catheter slowly to remove any blockage. You may also try pushing it one inch further into your penis or pull it back slightly.[18][19]
    • You should also make sure the catheter opening is not blocked by the lubricant or mucus. You may need to remove it to determine this.
    • If no urine comes out even after you rotate it, you can try coughing to encourage urine to flow.
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    Apply more lubricant if you find it difficult to insert the catheter. You may find it painful or uncomfortable to insert the catheter, especially when you are trying to push it past your prostate. You may need to put more lubricant on the catheter to make it easier to insert.[20][21]
    • Take a deep breath in and try to relax as you push the catheter in to make it easier to insert. If it is still difficult, do not force it. You may want to wait an hour and try again, focusing on staying relaxed and calm as you insert it in.
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    See a doctor if you cannot seem to urinate or you have other urination issues. If you cannot urinate even with the assistance of the catheter, or you are experiencing other urination issues, like blood or mucus in your urine, you should see your doctor.[22]
    • You should also see your doctor if you develop stomach cramps, your urine appears cloudy, smelly, or discolored, or you feel feverish. You may have a urinary issue that needs to be addressed before you can try using the catheter again.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Men's Health