Self-Catheterization for Men

Self-catheterization helps you empty your bladder if it doesn’t empty by itself. It also helps if your bladder doesn’t empty all the way. Follow the steps below.

This is what you’ll need

  • Soap and warm water, or a moist towelette

  • Clean catheter (your provider will tell you the correct type and size)

  • Water-soluble lubricating jelly (not petroleum jelly)

  • Toilet or basin

Closeup of hands applying lubricant to urinary catheter.

Closeup of hands inserting catheter into penis.

Hand holding catheter draining urine from bladder into toilet.

Step 1. Preparation

  • Gather all equipment needed.

  • Arrange clothing so it is out of the way.

  • Wash your hands and your penis. Use warm soapy water or a moist towelette to clean the end of the penis.

Step 2. Lubricate the catheter

  • Lubricate 2 to 4 inches of the catheter tip. Place the other end in the toilet or basin. Use a measuring urinal if your provider wants you to measure your urine. Some catheters contain self-lubricating solution inside the package.

Step 3. Insert the catheter

  • Grasp the tip of your penis. Hold it horizontally from your body.

  • Slowly insert the catheter into your urethra about 6 to 8 inches or until urine beings to flow. The urethra is the tube that drains urine from the bladder out to the end of the penis. If it doesn’t go in, take a deep breath and bear down as if trying to urinate. If you feel a sharp pain, remove the catheter and try again.

Step 4. Empty urine

  • When the urine starts flowing, advance the catheter tip an additional inch. Lower the angle of your penis.

  • When the urine stops flowing, slowly remove the catheter.

Step 5. Wash the catheter

  • Wash the catheter in mild soap and water.

  • Rinse it well. Run water through it. Then let it air-dry. Certain catheters are single use and can be thrown away after use.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water. If you use a basin, wash it out.