A New User’s Guide to Mastering Self-Catheterization

Published 2019/08/23

Updated 2023/05/03

Starting self-catheterization can be a daunting process. Many new users are intimidated by the idea, and feel apprehensive about inserting a catheter on their own. Rest assured that it’s a relatively simple task that you’ll be able to master in no time!

Become a Catheter Expert

Whether it’s your absolute first-time self-cathing, or you’ve tried before and are looking to build up some confidence, we’re here to support you. Read on to find our most useful tips for new users.

Never Use Force with

Do not force the catheter at any time. Step away for a few minutes if you’re feeling frustrated, then revisit the process. Forcing a catheter can damage the equipment you’re using, and in addition harm your urethral lining.


If a catheter feels particularly resistant to insertion, try adding some lube. Lubrication is key to a smooth and comfortable insertion. In addition, coughing, bearing down (like you are trying to urinate), and deep breathing can all help create gentle pressure that will loosen the resistance against the catheter.

Be Confident with Self-Catheterization!

It’s normal to experience some difficulties inserting a catheter, especially if you’re a beginner. If you’re feeling nervous, or are unable to get the catheter in the proper position, stop and take a deep breath and try again. Gaining confidence with self-catheterization is a process, and as you gain more experience it will become simpler with time. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Get Comfortable with

Make sure you’re in a comfortable position during the process of self-cathing. Some prefer to stand, while others feel more comfortable sitting on the edge of a toilet seat. Whichever method works best for you is fine, as long as you’re comfortable during the process and can stay focused on the task at hand.

Be Prepared to Self-Catheterize!

Gather all the supplies that you need before beginning self-catheterization. Interrupting the process halfway through to go and retrieve supplies you forgot can be a hassle. Some patients find making a checklist is a helpful exercise to being sure they have all the materials at hand before starting self-catheterization. In addition, always use proper hygiene and handwashing techniques.

Be Aware of Warning Signs
When Self-Cathing!

Self-catheterization is generally a safe and simple process. But, it is good to be aware of warning signs that an underlying medical problem may be occurring. If a catheter is particularly difficult to insert, demonstrating blood in the urine, or painful, you may need to check in with your physician to be sure you’re not experiencing any underlying medical conditions. In addition, watch out for symptoms of UTI (fever, increased urgency, cloudy urine, burning sensation when urinating) and consult a physician with any concerns.

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