Self-Catheterization Instructions

What is self-catheterization?

Self-catheterization is an intermittent emptying of the bladder with a clean plastic or rubbercatheter. Not all patients are required to self-catheterize following surgery. However, difficulty withproper bladder emptying is a common occurrence following anesthesia and surgical interventions.Bladder emptying with a catheter will encourage proper healing until your bladder returns tonormal function.

The goal of post-operative bladder care and self-catheterization is to NOT let your bladder get toofull or overstretched. If a bladder becomes overstretched, it becomes weaker, and therefore willslow your recovery to full bladder function. By self-catheterizing you can find out how much urine isin your bladder immediately after you urinate. A properly emptied bladder will have a PVR (postvoid residual) of 100ml or less.

Empty your bladder as often as needed during the day and night. DO NOT wait more than 4hours to empty your bladder and DO NOT try to hold your urine.

How often will you catheterize?

At first, you will catheterize yourself every two hours after voiding. Once your 2-hour PVRs are lessthan 100ml x 2, you may increase your catheterizing intervals to every 4 hours until your PVRs areless than 100ml x 2. You will continue to increase the intervals to 6, 8, 12 and then 24 hours as longas your PVRs remain less than 100ml. Urinate as much as you need to in between catheterizationbut continue to check a PVR at the schedule times. DO NOT let your bladder get full. Some womenhave to self-catheterize for a few days following surgery, while some catheterize a little longer.Please contact your surgeon’s office if you have any questions. You will need to take the antibioticthat has been prescribed for you. This will help prevent a urinary tract infection. Take medicationdaily, as long as you are wearing a catheter or self-catheterizing.

Self-Catheterizing Instructions

  1. Urinate and measure the amount in the urine collection hat.
  2. Empty collection hat.
  3. Wash your hands and genital area.
  4. Lubricate the tip of the catheter – only a small amount is needed.
  5. Separate your labia (outer part of vagina) using one hand.
  6. Squat over the toilet with a mirror tucked under the toilet set. You need to be able to see yourvagina and urethra.
  7. With your non-dominate hand make a “peace sign” to separate the labia.
    1. Hold the catheter as if it was a pencil and insert the catheter into the urethra (aiming towardyour nose).
    2. Slide the catheter in until urine starts to flow. Collect urine into collection hat.
  8. After urine flow has stopped, remove catheter slowly. Note the volume of urine collected from thecatheter. This amount of urine is call PVR.
  9. Wash catheter in hot soapy water. Rinse well. Place catheter on a clean towel and allow to dry.

Follow up: Your doctor requests that you keep record of your progress after surgery. If you should notice these symptoms, please call your doctor:

  • You are not able to insert the catheter to drain your bladder.
  • You experience pain with catheter insertion or bleeding from urethra
  • You have symptoms of urinary tract infection: urine that is cloudy, foul smelling, bloody
  • urine, burning with urination.
  • You have lower abdominal pain.
  • You develop a fever, chills, or both.

Please contact your doctor’s office at 701-877-2022 if you are still using the catheter in one week, or sooner if you have questions.

Download the Self-Catheterizing Chart