Intermittent catheterization programs (ICPs) are often used
when you have the ability to use a
catheter yourself or someone can do it for you. You
insert the catheter—a thin, flexible, hollow tube—through the
urethra into the
bladder and allow the urine to drain out. It is done
at scheduled times, and the catheter is not permanent.
general, an ICP requires that you limit your fluids. You and your doctor will
figure out how much fluid you can consume each day and what times are best to
use the catheter.
How to use the catheter
Following is a general
outline of the procedure. Your rehabilitation (rehab) team or doctor will show you and/or a
loved one how to perform a catheterization.
Be sure you have everything you need. This
typically includes a catheter, a water-based lubricant, a container to collect
the urine, latex or medical gloves, and cleansing equipment, such as cotton
balls, paper towels, soap, and antiseptics.
Wash your hands
thoroughly with soap and water, and put on the gloves. Gloves are optional.
Get into a
position that is most comfortable for you and/or your
Wash the tip of your penis with soap and water, or use
Position the end of the catheter so that urine can flow out into
a collection container.
2 in. (5.1 cm) of the tip of
If you are not circumcised, pull back the
foreskin and keep it back during the procedure.
Hold your penis
straight out in front of you, so its head is pointing away from your body. You
may also hold it erect, so that it is pointing up.
the catheter into the
urethra, the opening in the penis. If you feel
resistance, pause for a few minutes and then gently press the catheter in
again. If you cannot insert the catheter, do not force it. Stop, and call your
When urine begins to flow, insert the catheter about
2 in. (5.1 cm) more into the
When the urine stops flowing, press your abdomen or tighten
the abdomen muscles. This helps to completely empty the
Remove the catheter slowly. If urine begins to flow again,
stop removing the catheter until the urine flow stops.
hands, or take off your gloves.
Examine the urine. If it is
cloudy, has blood in it, or there has been a change in color or odor, call your
One-time–use catheters can be thrown away after each use. If you have a reusable catheter, you will need to wash and dry it after each use. To clean your catheter:
Wash the catheter with soap and water, or put
it in an antiseptic solution.
Rinse the catheter, inside and out,
with clean water. Some people use a syringe to push soapy water through the
Dry the catheter. Place it on a clean towel, fold the
towel over, and hang the towel on a rack.
When the catheter is dry,
place it in a plastic bag.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.