What Is a Clean Catheterization?
Clean catheterization uses a clean, not sterile, catheter to drain urine from the bladder.
The Urinary System
The urinary system consists of the kidneys, bladder and ureters.
The kidneys filter waste and excess water from the blood stream and make
urine. The urine then flows down the ureters to the bladder. The bladder
holds the urine until you empty your bladder.
When the bladder is full, nerves in the bladder send a message to the brain and
to the spinal cord. The message causes the muscles that hold urine in to relax
and the bladder to squeeze urine out of your body through the urethra.
Your doctor or nurse will explain your bladder problem. These are some common problems:
ξ Messages from the bladder to the brain and/or spinal cord are not complete.
ξ The bladder has weak muscles. All the urine does not empty out.
ξ The sphincter does not open properly. The bladder overfills.
ξ The sphincter is always open. Urine dribbles out.
ξ Uncontrolled spasms cause urine to leak out.
You may need to drain the bladder if you cannot void or control urine output.
If the bladder overfills for a long time, urine can back up into the ureters and into the kidneys
causing damage to both. If the bladder is overstretched, it slows urine flow, making a bladder
infection more likely.
You can empty the bladder on a schedule using a catheter to help prevent backflow of urine and
Catheterization helps you stay dry. If you have bladder spasms or a weak sphincter muscle,
catheterization alone may not keep you dry. Your doctor may suggest one or two medicines to
stop the spasms and tighten the sphincter.
How Often? Most people need to catheterize every 3-4 hours to prevent urine overflow.
A clean catheter
Water soluble lubricant (K-Y jelly, Lubrifax, or Surgilube ). Do not use Vaseline .
Container for urine
Liquid soap and water
Step by Step guide
1. Gather the equipment.
2. If your doctor or nurse has told you to urinate, do so before you begin.
3. Wash your hands with soap and water.
4. Wash the tip of your penis with soap and water. Dry.
5. Lubricate the catheter from its tip down about 2 inches.
6. Grasp the sides (not the underside) of your penis below
the tip. Push back the foreskin if present. Hold the penis
up at a 60 θangle. (See picture).
7. Gently insert the catheter. You may meet some
resistance. Use gentle, but firm pressure until the muscle
relaxes. Insert the catheter 1-2 inches further after urine
starts to flow.
8. Allow all of the urine to flow out.
9. After the urine has stopped flowing remove the catheter slowly. If more urine flows out at
one spot, stop there and allow it to drain.
10. Pinch the catheter as you remove it to avoid getting wet.
11. Wash the catheter with liquid soap and water. Rinse well. Drain the water out. Place it on
a clean towel to dry. Moisture causes bacteria to grow.
12. You will need a new catheter every week or as prescribed by your provider.
ξ If you leak urine, carry extra clothing and pads with you.
ξ Catheterize before your scheduled time if you plan to be away from home.
ξ If you travel, plan when and where you will be able to catheterize.
ξ If your child needs to be catheterized at school, discuss the schedule with the school
ξ Empty your bladder every __________ hours, day and evening.
ξ You may catheterize yourself sooner than 4 hours if you have discomfort. Do not wait more than
ξ Drink 8-10 glasses (8-oz.) daily.
ξ If you limit fluids after supper, you will be able to stay dry and avoid overfilling your bladder.
This may allow you to go through the night without catheterizing.
ξ If you notice the following symptoms, drink more fluids.
Cloudy or dark-colored urine
Foul smelling urine
Solid flakes, mucous sediment floating in the urine
When to Call the Doctor
Blood from the urethra
Temperature greater than 100.5° F by mouth
UW Health Urology 608-263-4757
UW Health at The American Center Urology 608-440-6464
UW Health One South Park Urology 608-287-2900
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Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©7/2015. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4358.
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