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Intermittent Self Catheterisation for Males

Self catheterisation is a simple procedure where you pass a catheter regularly into the bladder to assist in the drainage of urine.

It can be performed when normal voiding is not possible, and to relieve the retention of urine.

The bladder must be completely emptied, regularly and should never have more than 400 - 450 mls in it.

You will be instructed on how many times a day you need to perform ISC

The size of the catheter used is usually 14-16 gauge.

Do not use this information unless you have already been shown how to perform intermittent self catheterisation (ISC) by a qualified health professional.

Equipment needed

  • Nelaton catheter – male.
  • Lubricant – sterile lubricant gel.
  • Jug / container for collection of urine (if toilet not available).
  • Clean container for storing clean catheter.
  • Soap and water.


  1. Wash hands and penis with soap and water, or shower (pull back foreskin if not circumcised). Baby wipes (not containing alcohol) can be used.
  2. Open new catheter from packaging, or prepare clean, dry catheter from container.
  3. Apply gel / lubricant to tip of catheter.
  4. Assume a comfortable position.
  5. Hold penis at a 45-degree angle, to straighten urethral curves.
  6. Gently insert catheter into urinary opening at tip of penis.
  7. Slowly advance catheter until urine flows (allow urine to drain into toilet or jug).
  8. Hold catheter in place until urine stops draining, then slowly remove catheter. It the catheter cannot be removed, take a few deep breaths then try again.
  9. Reposition foreskin.
  10. Wash hands.

Repeat procedure as discussed with your Doctor or Continence Nurse.

Care of Catheters

  • Nelaton catheters can be re-used for up to one week, if you have made the decision to reuse the catheter.
  • After use, rinse catheter under cold, running water.
  • Then wash in warm, soapy water. Rinse well, shaking to dry well.
  • Store catheter in a clean container in refrigerator (clean container between each catheter use).
  • Discard catheter if you develop a urinary infection on the first and last day you complete a course of antibiotics.


This information is intended as a general educational guide and may not apply to your situation. You must not rely on this information as an alternative to consultation with your urologist or other health professional.

Not all potential complications are listed, and you must talk to your urologist about the complications specific to your situation.