You will use a catheter (tube) to drain urine from your bladder. You may need a catheter because you have urinary incontinence (leakage), urinary retention (not being able to urinate), prostate problems, or surgery that made it necessary.
What to Expect at Home
Urine will drain through your catheter into the toilet or a special container. Your doctor will show you how to use your catheter. After some practice, it will get easier.
Sometimes family members, a school nurse, or others may be able to help you use your catheter.
Your doctor will give you a prescription for the right catheter for you. There are different types and sizes. You can buy catheters at medical supply stores. You will also need small plastic bags and a gel such as K-Y jelly or Surgilube. Do NOT use Vaseline (petroleum jelly).
Ask your doctor how often you should empty your bladder with your catheter. Usually it is 3 to 6 times a day. Always try to empty your bladder first thing in the morning and when you go to bed at night. You can empty your bladder while sitting on a toilet. Your doctor or nurse can show you how to do this correctly.
Using Your Catheter
Follow these steps to insert your catheter:
- Wash your hands well with soap and water.
- You may use disposable gloves if you prefer not to use your bare hands. Ask your doctor or nurse if the gloves need to be sterile.
- Move back the foreskin of your penis if you are uncircumcised.
- Wash the tip of your penis with Betadine (an antiseptic cleaner), soap and water, or baby wipes the way your doctor or nurse showed you.
- Get your urine container ready or sit on the toilet.
- Apply the K-Y Jelly or other gel to the tip and top 2 inches of the catheter. (Some catheters come with gel already on them.)
- Hold your penis straight out and insert the catheter using firm, gentle pressure. Do not force it. Start over if it is not going in well. Try to relax and breathe deeply.
- Once the catheter is in, urine will start to flow.
- After urine starts to flow, gently push in the catheter about 2 more inches, or to the "Y" connector. (Younger boys will push in the catheter only about 1 inch more at this point.)
- Let the urine drain into the toilet or special container. Bear down 1 or 2 times to empty all the urine from your bladder.
- When urine stops, slowly remove the catheter. Pinch the end closed to avoid getting wet.
- Wash the end of your penis with a clean cloth or baby wipe. Make sure the foreskin is back in place.
- If you are using a container to collect urine, empty it into the toilet. Always close the toilet lid before flushing to prevent germs from spreading.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
Cleaning Your Catheter
Clean your catheter every day. Always make sure you are in a clean bathroom. Do NOT let the catheter touch any of the bathroom surfaces (such as the toilet, wall, and floor).
Follow these steps:
- Wash your hands well.
- Rinse out the catheter with a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 4 parts water. Or, you can soak it in hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes.
- Rinse it again with cold water.
- Hang the catheter over a towel to dry.
- When it is dry, store the catheter in a new plastic bag.
Throw away the catheter when it becomes dry and brittle. Some kinds of catheters are meant to be used only once.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor or nurse if:
- You are having trouble inserting or cleaning your catheter.
- You are leaking urine.
- You have a skin rash or sores
- You notice a smell.
- You have penis pain.
- You have signs of infection (a burning sensation when you urinate, fever, or chills).
Clean intermittent catheterization - male; CIC - male
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