Hydrophilic Catheters:
Benefits and Instructions

Published 2021/02/17

Updated 2022/12/15

What are the benefits of
using a hydrophilic catheter?

Potentially Less Urethral Injury

Since a lubricated hydrophilic catheter is very slippery, the friction it causes to the urethra during catheterization is also relatively small. Less friction means there’s a decreased likelihood of urethral pain, discomfort, and injury. A study has shown that hydrophilic catheters decrease the likelihood of hematuria (blood in urine).  


You don’t need to labouriously apply lubricating jelly to a hydrophilic catheter, instead you would lubricate it with water. Hydrophilic catheters often come with sterile water pouches attached to the packaging. To lubricate the catheter, you would squeeze open the pouch and let water flow into the packaging, soaking the catheter.


When using a hydrophilic catheter, you don’t need to carry additional lubrication with you, thus making it more convenient.


Hydrophilic catheters are often designed to be no-touch. Since the hydrophilic catheter is lubricated by water, you don’t need to touch the catheter tube to lubricate it. The non-touch catheter also comes with an insertion aid, which you can hold on to during insertion so you never need to touch the catheter tube.


Not needing to touch the catheter tube decreases the chance of germs transferring from your hands into your urethra. If bacteria and viruses travel with the catheter into your urinary tract, you will likely get a UTI (here are some tips to avoid catheter-associated UTI).


A study done on patients with spinal cord injuries (SCI) has found that the use of hydrophilic catheters is associated with fewer urinary tract infections. 

How to use a hydrophilic catheter

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to use a CompactCath hydrophilic catheter:


  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Fold the water pocket towards the packing film and press it.
  3. Unfold the catheter and shake the packet from side to side so water reaches the entire length of the catheter.
  4. Use the adhesive stickers on the back of the packaging, or the loop on top to hang the catheter vertically. 
  5. Let the catheter soak for 30 seconds. This step is important for it to become fully lubricated.
  6. Tear the packing film until the connector is exposed.
  7. Take the catheter out and perform self-catheterization. 
  8. Dispose of the catheter after one use. 

What is a hydrophilic catheter?

Hydrophilic means water-loving. A hydrophilic catheter is a urinary intermittent catheter coated with a special polymer coating that can bind onto water molecules. When a hydrophilic catheter comes into contact with water, the polymer coating binds onto the water and becomes extremely slippery and smooth. The superior lubricity of hydrophilic catheters makes them popular among intermittent catheter users.


This article will explain the benefits of using a hydrophilic catheter and how to self-catheterize with a hydrophilic catheter.  

Bring travel catheters that are compact, no-touch, and pre-lubricated

When you’re on the road, there are so many unknowns. You may be in a situation where you can’t wash your hands. Touching the catheter with your germ-ridden hands is very likely to give you an infection.


A catheter with a no-touch design means you don’t have to touch the catheter tube as you insert it. Researchers have handled both no-touch catheters and normal catheters with germ-infected gloves and found that there is often no bacteria detectable on the no-touch catheters.


Even if you’re not used to using this kind of catheter, you can look into it for your trip. Practice using them before you go on the trip. You don’t want to run into problems when you’re already on the road. If you don’t have insurance and non-touch catheters are costly to you, you can bring a few and use them when you’re unable to wash your hands properly. 


Travelling catheters are often no-touch for hygienic reasons, but they are also compact, light and pre-lubricated. This means they take little room and don’t add on a lot of weight to your luggage, and you can catheterize more quickly and easily. 

If you’re bothering by hematuria, try our hydrophilic catheters!

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