How to insert a male catheter

Updated February 21, 2017

A catheter is used to remove urine from the urinary bladder. It is either inserted to obtain a sterile urine specimen and removed, or inserted and secured to provide constant removal of urine. Here is a step-by-step guide for the insertion of the male catheter.

Lay the patient on his back, with his legs together. Open the catheter insertion tray. Remove the sterile drape by carefully touching only the corners, spread the sterile drape out over the patient's legs, up near the testes.

Carefully remove the packet containing the sterile gloves and spread it open on a clean surface near you. Put on the gloves. Do not touch the outside of the gloves with your hands.

Open the packet containing the catheter and place it on the sterile drape, then open the lubricating jelly and place a generous amount on the drape.

Remove the top from the specimen container if a urine specimen is to be obtained and place it on the drape. Open the packet of iodine wipes and lay them out within easy reach on the drape.

Clean the patient. With your non-dominant hand grasp the patient's penis. Using your remaining sterile hand, use the iodine swab sticks to clean the area around the urinary meatus (opening at the head of the penis), working from the meatus outward. Use each swab stick to make only one pass around the head of the penis and discard it.

Place the output end of the catheter into the sterile cup to catch urine outflow. Using your sterile hand, lubricate the end of the catheter generously with jelly. Place the tip of the catheter into the opening of the urinary meatus and begin to insert the catheter slowly. If you feel an obstruction, try moving the penis upward and downward to move the catheter past the obstruction (which is probably the prostate). When the tip of the catheter reaches the urinary bladder there should be a return of urine.

If a urine specimen is to be obtained, allow at least 10 ml of urine to flow into the sterile cup. Using your hand, fold the catheter up to clamp it off. Place the lid on the sterile cup and set it aside. If the catheterisation was to obtain a specimen only, the catheter can now be removed and discarded.

Secure the catheter. If the catheter is to remain in the bladder for urine removal, use the syringe containing sterile water to inflate the bulb of the catheter. Once the bulb is filled, gently pull the catheter down until resistance is felt. Attach the outflow end of the catheter to a urine collection bag and place the bag below the level of the patient's bladder.

Things You'll Need

  • sterile catheter insertion tray
  • a sterile drape
  • sterile gloves
  • iodine swab sticks
  • catheter
  • water-based lubricating jelly
  • sterile specimen jar
  • prefilled syringe of sterile water
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About the Author

Giselle Diamond is a freelance writer and has been writing since 1999. Diamond is experienced in writing in all genres and subjects, with distinguished experience in home and garden, culture and society, literature and psychology. Diamond has a Master of Arts in English and psychology from New York University. Diamond has articles published on both eHow and LiveStrong.