Questions and Answers about Intermittent Self-Catheterization

Q. What kind of supplies will I need?

A.  You will need a catheter and soap and water to wash your hands before and after you catheterize yourself.  You may use a water-soluble lubricant to help the catheter slide into the urethra more easily.  Some people like to use moist towelettes (like Wash ‘N Dry) to clean the area around the urethral opening before catheterizing. 

Q.  Where can catheterization be done?

A.  Anywhere you can find some privacy.  Many individuals prefer to use the toilet; however, you may drain the catheter into any other container for disposal (such as a night drain bag, Little John Portable Urinal, empty milk carton, coffee can or plastic bag. also has several products that we carry that can absorb liquid and turn it into a solid gel in a matter of seconds that can easily be disposed of in any waste receptacle.  See the Travel John, and Restop

Q.  How often should I catheterize?

A.  Your doctor or nurse will help you establish a regular schedule that best suits your needs.  When you begin, they may ask you to keep a record of your catheterizations so that your schedule can be adjusted to what works best for you.  Usually it is recommended that you catheterize at least every 3 to 6 hours, however, your physician or nurse should determine the frequency.  The important this is to follow your schedule without fail!. Remember not to let the bladder become distended.

Q.  Should I limit the fluids I drink?

A.  Every person needs daily fluids to maintain their health.  Eight 8-oz glasses of liquid a day is recommended.  Your doctor or nurse will advise you on your special fluid needs as they relate to your catheterization program.  For example, they may advise you to limit your fluid intake several hours before bedtime to help you stay dry during the night.  Beverages containing caffeine may irritate the bladder, so you may want to limit them to two or three cups a day.

Q.  What about sexual activity and catheterization?

A.  Intermittent self-catheterization should not interfere with sexual activity.  You may discuss sexual concerns with your doctor or nurse.  It is generally advised to empty the bladder before and after having intercourse.

Q.  How often should I see my doctor?

A.  You should always see your doctor based on his or her recommendation for your regular check-ups.  But notify your physician at once if you experience cloudy or foul smelling urine, pain or burning when inserting the catheter or while urinating, bloody urine, fever, chills, back pain or inability to get the catheter into the bladder.

Q.  What about medications?

A.  Always tell your doctor about any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medication.  The doctor may prescribe medication for you while doing catheterizations if needed.

Q.  How do I know when to catheterize?

A.  You should catheterize every 3 to 6 hours as prescribed by your doctor.  The following signs may be ab indication that it is time to catheterize: restlessness, perspiration, chills, headache, distended bladder and feelings of fullness.

Q.  What is the difference in the size of the catheter?

A.  The diameter of the catheter is measured in a unit called French (FR).  When prescribing a 14 FR catheter, the physician is requesting a specific tube diameter size.  The smaller the number, the smaller the diameter.  Catheters used for intermittent self-catheterization range from 5 to 20 FR with 12 and 14 FR the most common for adults.

Q.  Where can I find Intermittent Catheters?

A. carries Coloplast Intermittent catheters, and can answer any questions you may have.