Self-Catheterization for Males

This information explains how men can perform self-catheterization.

Your doctor has asked you to catheterize yourself. It is a clean technique,  meaning that you should do it in a clean environment. Begin by washing your hands and the area around your urethra with  soap and water. Doing this before each catheterization will help prevent infection.


  • Catheter
  • Water-based lubricant, e.g., K-Y Jelly®
  • Soap and water
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (optional)
  • Paper towel
  • Collection container, as needed
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Steps to Follow

  1. Gather your equipment.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Dry them with a clean towel.
  3. Clean the area around your urethra with soap and water.
  4. Stand in front of or sit on a toilet. You can also do it in a private room with a urinal or any container you want to use to collect the urine.
  5. Lubricate the catheter and hold it in your dominant hand.
  6. Hold your penis straight down with the other hand. It should be at about a 45 degree angle away from your body. Insert the catheter slowly and gently into the urethra. Push it in until you see urine flowing from the catheter. To be safe, push it in another inch once you see urine flowing. That way, you will be sure it is fully inside your bladder.
  7. Hold the catheter in place until the urine flow stops.
  8. Slowly withdraw the catheter. The catheter may drain some more urine on its way out. If you see urine draining out, stop the catheter at that point. Let the urine finish draining. Continue to withdraw the catheter.
  9. Clean the catheter with soap and water. Rinse and dry it with a paper towel. Wash your hands with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  10. Store the catheter in a clean place covered with a paper towel or in a zip-lock bag.
  11. If you have a situation in which it would be difficult to reuse a catheter, speak to your nurse. There are supply options for you.
  12. Always carry an extra catheter. You may need one in an emergency.

It is normal to have some irritation of your urethra after the catheterization. It is not unusual to see a little blood during or after it. Your urine may turn light orange due to this blood, so drink some water. This will flush your bladder.

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