Inserting a catheter by yourself-- also known as self-catheterization-- allows users to empty their bladders when they need to. For people who struggle with incontinence, catheters can help regulate bladder function, allowing individuals to maintain their mobility and freedom to do what they please.


The process of inserting a catheter varies based on someone’s biological sex. For instructions on how to insert a catheter, read on:


Things You Will Need

Before you begin, it is always necessary to have the following supplies:

  • Sterile gloves, to help keep things clean
  • Lubricating jelly, to allow for ease of insertion
  • Paper towels, for cleanup
  • Soap and water, to keep your hands clean as well!

After collecting your supplies, be sure to wash your hands first. Then, put on the gloves.

Inserting a Catheter (Female)

For people born with vaginas, the first step to inserting a catheter is to clean your vulva with soap and water, then pat it dry. When the area has dried completely, stand in front of or sit on a toilet. To help see what you’re doing, consider using a mirror. Always lubricate the catheter before inserting it.


To insert the catheter, spread your legs and look for your urethral opening. Use your dominant hand to hold the catheter, and your other hand to hold your labia open, as though you are inserting a tampon. Slowly insert the catheter into your urethra (above the vagina) until urine begins to drain from it. When the draining stops. Wait a few seconds, then slowly remove the catheter.

Inserting a Catheter (Male)

For those born with a penis, self-catheterization begins with cleaning the end of the penis, to avoid infection. Next, spread the lubricating jelly on the tip of your catheter, and hold it with your dominant hand. With the other hand, hold the penis steady.


Slowly insert the catheter until urine begins to flow out of it, then push it in another 2 centimeters. When urine has completely drained, wait a moment before removing the catheter.


All catheters must be either disposed of immediately after use or cleaned with soap and water. To browse catheters, catheter accessories, and other urological products, visit the Medical Supply Depot.



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