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Self-Catheterization Guidelines for Women 

  1. Wash your hands and your genitals with warm, soapy water or a moist towelette. Make sure you wash from front to back.
  2. Lubricate the tip of the catheter. Place the opposite end of the catheter in the toilet or basin.
  3. Spread the labia and find your urethra with a mirror, or your index finger.
  4. Slowly insert the catheter into your urethra. If it is hard to insert, relax. When urine begins to flow, stop inserting the catheter.
  5. When the urine stops flowing, slowly remove and discard the catheter. Be sure to wash your hands.

Hints and Tips

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Always use a clean or sterile catheter
  • Follow your schedule whether you feel the need to urinate or not
  • Keep a log of your self-catheterization schedule
  • Relax

When to call your doctor

Even though self-catheterization is safe, occasionally problems may arise. Call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Leakage between catheterizations
  • Little or no urine flow
  • Pain when inserting the catheter
  • Foul-smelling urine 
  • Lower back or abdomen pain
  • Sand-like particles in your urine
  • Low-grade fever of 100.4° or higher

For a PDF of this information click here. For a Spanish version, click here

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Health and Wellness Tip

Laugh every day.  It can release endorphins, the healing hormones, and act as the body’s natural pain killer.  Rent a funny movie or call a friend that makes you laugh.  This can lower your blood pressure and boost your immune system.