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Intermittent Self-Catheterisation

Intermittent Self-Catheterisation | SingHealth

Intermittent Self-Catheterisation - What is it for

  1. What is intermittent catheterisation?
  2. Preparing the required items
  3. Preparing yourself before the procedure
  4. Inserting the catheter (for males)
  5. Inserting the catheter (for females)
  6. Removing the catheter
  7. Washing and drying the catheter after the procedure
  8. Storing the catheter
  9. Reusing the catheter

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1. What is intermittent catheterisation?

It is the insertion and removal of a catheter into the urethra several times a day to empty the bladder.

2. Preparing the required items

things to prepare for catheterisation

  1. Catheter and kidney dish (refer to picture 1)
  2. Measuring jug with units in ml (refer to picture 2)
  3. Water-based lubrication gel
  4. Notebook for recording
  5. Mirror (for females)

Perform the catheterisation at regular intervals as ordered by the doctor or nurse.


3. Preparing yourself before the procedure

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Wash the genital area with soap and water.
    • For uncircumcised male, pull back the foreskin before washing (refer to picture 4).
  3. Lubricate 5 inches from the tip of the catheter (refer to picture 3).
    self-catheterisation procedure
  4. Position yourself in the most comfortable sitting position that is convenient for you.

If you encounter problems while inserting the catheter, the following tips may help:

  1. If the catheter does not go in
    1. Take a deep breath and contract your abdominal muscles as if trying to urinate.
  2. If contracting abdominal muscles does not help
    1. Remove the catheter fully, breathe deeply and relax for 5 minutes.
    2. Try again.
  3. If there is sharp pain
    1. Remove the catheter and seek medical attention immediately.


4. Inserting the catheter (for males)

self-catheterisation for males

a. Hold your penis upwards at a 60°angle, to straighten the urethra.

insert catheter for males

b. Slowly insert the catheter. Stop advancing the catheter when urine starts flowing.

insert catheter

c. Lower the angle of your penis to drain the urine into the kidney dish.


5. Inserting the catheter (for females)

self-catheterisation for females

a. Part the labia with the index and middle fingers of your non-dominant hand, with the aid of a mirror.

insert catheter for females

b. Slowly push the lubricated catheter into the urethra opening until urine is seen flowing out.

insert catheter

c. Lower the angle of the catheter to drain the urine into the kidney dish.


6. Removing the catheter

  1. Withdraw the catheter slowly when the urine stops flowing.
  2. For uncircumcised males, push back the foreskin gently after removing the catheter (refer to picture 4).
    remove catheter
  3. Wash your hands after the procedure.
  4. Measure and record the amount of urine.


  • Note the urine colour (yellowish, brownish, or reddish). If the urine is cloudy or has a strong or foul odour, record it down in a notebook. If it persists for more than 24 hours, consult the doctor immediately.
  • Show the notebook to the doctor or nurse on the day of review.


7. Washing and drying the catheter after the procedure

  1. Wash the catheter with water and/or mild soap under a running tap as shown (refer to picture 5).
    washing catheter
  2. Shake off any excess water and dry it with clean tissue paper.

8. Storing the catheter

  1. Keep the catheter in a clean plastic container with a lid (refer to picture 6). If a Ziploc bag is used, ensure it is changed daily.
    storing catheter
  2. Store it in a cool and dry place to be ready for the next use.
  3. Wash your hands after the procedure.

9. Reusing of the catheter

  1. Change the catheter as instructed by your doctor or nurse.


tips on catheterisation


  1. Follow your usual diet, but try to have plenty of fruits and vegetables to prevent constipation.
  2. Constipation may cause difficulty in passing urine. If constipation is a problem, please consult your doctor/ nurse for advice.

Fluid intake

  1. DO NOT reduce fluid intake to avoid catheterisation unless instructed by doctor or nurse.
  2. For adults
    • Drink about 2 litres or 7-8 glasses of water daily.

Intermittent Catheterisation
Preparing for catheterisation

  1. Follow your catheterisation schedule.
  2. Urinate (if you can) before any catheterisation.
  3. Keep yourself relaxed when inserting the catheter (tensed muscles make the catheter harder to insert).


  • Difficulty or increasing pain when inserting the catheter
  • Difficulty or inability to urinate
  • Bloody urine (a trace of blood is normal)
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Prolonged discomfort or pain
  • Redness of skin around penis/scrotum (for males)
  • Signs of infection such as:
    • Foul-smelling urine, or presence of sand-like grains in your urine
    • Persistent fever of more than 38°C or chills
    • Pain in your lower back or lower abdomen

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Intermittent Self-Catheterisation - Causes and Risk Factors

Intermittent Self-Catheterisation - Diagnosis

Intermittent Self-Catheterisation - Treatments

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