Catherization Information for Men


  • Try to urinate before you catheterize yourself.
  • Gather all the items you will need and ask your caregiver where to get the supplies to catheterize yourself.
    • A clean catheter
    • Water-based lubricating jelly
    • Container to collect urine
    • A Bowl of warm water, soap, washcloth, and hand towel
    • Waterproof pad or bath towel
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap.
  • Get into position for inserting your catheter. Lie or sit down with your knees bent. Put a towel or waterproof pad under your penis. You may also stand in front of the toilet. Make sure the other end of the catheter is pointed into a container or down toward the toilet.
  • Clean yourself. Wash your penis with soap, warm water and a washcloth. If you are not circumcised, pull back the foreskin. Wash the head and the urinary meatus (the opening where urine comes out). Rinse and dry your penis. Put the container close to you to collect the urine.
  • Put water-based lubricating jelly on the first 7 to 10 inches of the catheter. This will help decrease discomfort during the procedure.
  • Insert the catheter:
    • With one hand, hold your penis straight out from your body. With your other hand, slowly put the catheter into the urinary meatus.
    • Gently push the catheter about 7 to 10 inches into your penis until urine begins to come out. Once urine starts to flow, push the catheter up 1 inch more and hold it in place until the urine stops
  • Remove the catheter when you are finished. When urine no longer comes out of the catheter, pinch it closed with the hand that was holding your penis. Gently and slowly pull the catheter out. Keep the end of the catheter up to prevent dribbling of urine. If you are not circumcised, pull the foreskin down over the head of the penis.
  • Clean the catheter: If your catheter is reusable, follow your caregiver’s instructions to clean it. If your catheter is a single-use catheter, throw it away.



Catheterize yourself at least 4 times each day and at bedtime.

How can I help prevent an infection? 

  • Wash your hands. Always wash your hands with soap and water before you catheterize yourself.
  • Clean and dry reusable catheters. Clean all reusable catheters with soap and warm water after every use. Sterilize all reusable catheters in a pan of boiling water for 20 minutes. Set the catheters on a clean paper towel to dry.
  • Store catheters correctly. Store dry catheters in a clean plastic bag. Throw away torn, hardened or cracked catheters.
  • Wear cotton boxers or underwear. These allow air-flow and keep your genital area dry.
  • Drink plenty of liquids. Ask your caregiver how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. This helps to keep you from getting a urinary infection.


  • No urine comes out of the catheter. Gently rotate the catheter in case it’s blocked. Try gently pushing the catheter a little further up into the penis or pulling it back. Check also that the catheter opening is not blocked by lubricant or mucus.
  • Urine leakage between catheterizations. You may have some urine leakage if you have been drinking more liquids than usual, especially those containing caffeine or alcohol. It could also mean that you have a bladder infection. If you are having a problem with urine leakage, try catheterizing yourself more often. If you think you have an infection, contact your caregiver.
  • Difficulty inserting or removing the catheter. If you have pain or discomfort when you insert your catheter, use more lubricant. It is common to meet some resistance when you are pushing the catheter past your prostate. The prostate is the gland that makes semen. Take a deep breath and try to relax before you push the catheter in further. Breathe in, then continue pushing the catheter in as you slowly let your breath out.
  • Blood on the catheter or in your urine. This may happen if your meatus or urethra is too dry. Try using more lubricating jelly to prevent irritating your meatus and urethra. Make sure you drink enough liquids. Blood in the urine could also mean you have an infection.


  • Contact your caregiver if:
    • You have a fever.
    • Your urine is thick, cloudy or has mucus in it.
    • You have red specks in your urine or your urine looks pink or red.
    • Your urine has a strong smell.
    • You have pain or burning in your urethra, bladder or abdomen.
    • It’s , too painful, difficult or uncomfortable to insert your catheter far enough to start your urine flow.
    • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

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