Intermittent Self-Catheterization for Males

Intermittent catheterization involves the placement of a temporary catheter (tube) to remove urine from the body. This is usually done by placing the catheter through the urethra to empty the bladder.

General Safety Precautions

  • Wash and dry hands thoroughly before the procedure.
  • Always use a clean catheter.
  • Rinse soiled catheter under cool water immediately after using it, and then wash it with soap and water.
  • Keep clean and soiled catheters in separate containers.

Call your Doctor, if you...

  • have any sign of infection: fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher, chills, cough, sore throat, redness or tenderness along a vein, at an IV site, or at any other wound or skin irritation
  • have frequency and/or urgency of urination; pain or burning sensation when you urinate or in the area around your urethra or bladder; or have a change in your urine (cloudiness, blood, or pus)

Equipment Needed

  • Catheter (rubber, no. 14 or 16 Fr)
  • Clean towel, washcloth, soap, water
  • Water-soluble lubricant such as KY Jelly or Astroglide
  • Separate containers for clean and contaminated catheters
  • Container to drain urine, if not using toilet


  • Wash hands with soap and water.
  • Lubricate about 2-3 inches of the catheter.
  • Get into a comfortable position for the procedure. Some men find it easier to stand.
  • Clean your penis, first around the opening and then the surrounding area.
  • Hold your penis erect and insert catheter slowly and gently. Some resistance may be felt halfway up.
  • Use gentle pressure to advance until urine begins to flow. Then advance catheter about 1 inch.
  • Allow your bladder to drain completely. Bear down to expel any remaining urine.
  • Slowly withdraw the catheter.
  • Rinse the catheter well and then wash with soap and water, dry, and place in the container for used catheters.
  • Wash and dry your hands.
  • Record date, time, amount and color of urine.


If you have any questions, call the Urology Center at (716) - 845-3159 between 8 am and 4:40 pm Monday to Friday. After hours and on weekends and holidays, call (716) 845-2300 and ask to speak to the urologist on call.