Self-Catheterization after Bladder Surgery
This handout has been prepared to help you learn about self-catheterization after
bladder surgery. Step-by-step instructions are given. Please write down any
questions you have while reading this and ask your doctor or nurse. If you have
questions or concerns when you are at home, please call the numbers listed at the
end of this handout.
What Is Self-Catheterization?
Self-catheterization is the regular emptying of the bladder with a clean plastic or
rubber catheter. After the surgery you have had, it is necessary to drain the bladder
completely to help you heal and to prevent infection.
How the Urinary System Works
The urinary system consists of the kidney, bladder and connecting tubes.
The kidneys filter waste products and excess water from the
blood stream. Kidneys make urine. Urine flows down the
connecting tubes (ureters) to the bladder. The bladder
collects and stores the urine.
How Often Will You Catheterize?
You should catheterize after you urinate. This ensures that
your bladder is empty. The length of time you will be
required to do this after surgery will vary.
The goal is to have less than ______milliliters (mL) in your bladder after urinating.
1 A clean plastic or rubber catheter. You will be given a 6-inch Mentor catheter.
1. Water-soluble lubricant may be needed (K-Y jelly, lubrifax, or Surgilube ). DO
NOT USE VASELINE--it's not water-soluble and could damage the catheter.
2. A plastic container to collect urine.
ξ Hint: A urinal has a handle to hang onto while using the catheter and easily
measures the amount of urine emptied.
ξ You will be given a container to place on your toilet seat at home to measure
how much you urinate.
3. Antibacterial soap and water, or antiseptic towelettes.
4. Mirror, as needed.
The Step by Step Procedure for Women
1. Gather the equipment.
2. Urinate and measure the amount.
3. Wash your hands and genital area. When
washing your genital area, only wipe from front
to back, never back to front.
4. Get the catheter wet with tap water. This will
activate the lubricant on the catheter. If needed,
lubricate the catheter with the lubricant about 2
inches from the tip.
5. Separate your labia (the outer lips of your
genital area), using one hand
6. Locate your urethra (opening of the tube to your
bladder) by feel or using a mirror.
a. Hold the catheter close to its tip.
b. Gently insert it into your urethra.
c. Direct it upward toward your bladder until urine flows. (see picture)
d. Insert the catheter one more inch 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 for a moment to let it drain.
10. Wash the catheter with antibacterial liquid soap and water. Rinse well. Drain
the water out. Dry the outside of the catheter with a clean towel. Place the
catheter on a clean towel so the inside dries. Wetness causes bacteria to grow.
11. Store the catheter in a clean container or plastic bag. It will be okay to reuse the
same catheter several times.
About the Catheter
If you use the Mentor Self-Cath Plus ≤, it has a natural lubricant to make it slippery
when wet. Tap water is enough to make it slippery for the first 4-5 uses. You can use
the same catheter each time as long as it is washed well between uses. You will be
more likely to get an infection if the catheter is not kept clean. It is also important to
wash your hands and genital area before the procedure. The catheter is made of a
strong plastic so it should not break or be damaged easily. If you notice any cuts or
breaks in the catheter, do not use it and start using a new one.
1. Your doctor or nurse will want you to keep records of your progress after
surgery. Use the attached flow sheet to record the amounts of urine after
urinating and after using the catheter. This information will help your doctor
understand how you are healing.
2. If you notice any of these symptoms, please call your nurse or doctor:
ξ bloody urine or bleeding from the urethra
ξ fever over 100.5 θF (by mouth)
ξ difficulty urinating
ξ back pain
ξ stomach ache
3. If you notice any of these symptoms, drink more fluids.
ξ cloudy or dark-colored urine
ξ foul smelling urine
ξ solid flakes, mucous sediment floating in the urine
ξ If you leak urine you should have extra clothing and pads with you.
ξ If you are planning to travel, plan when and where you will be able to
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
After Hours, Nights, Weekends, and Holidays, the clinic number is answered by the paging
operator. Ask for the Urology Doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area
code. The doctor will call you back.
Toll Free: 1-844-607-4800
Your Medical Record Number is: __________________________
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7146.
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#5916.
to Void Amount
ml or ounces
Amount ml or