How to do a Catheter Insertion in Both Men and Women

A catheter is a tube that is inserted into vessels and ducts in the body for drainage and administrative/medicinal purposes. Catheters are made from a wide range of materials such as latex and thermoplastic elastomers. These materials are responsible for the flexibility of the catheter which helps ease the insertion process. There are two kinds of catheters: the straight catheter and the Foley catheter.

Uses of Catheters

Catheter insertion has been practiced for a long time and it has many uses. Some of its uses include:

  • Draining urine from the urinary bladder.
  • Administering intravenous fluids and medication
  • Administering oxygen and anesthetic medication
  • Measuring blood pressure


catheter insertion

Catheter Insertion

Catheter insertion can be permanent or temporary depending on the condition of the patient. Inserting a catheter is not complicated. You can insert the catheter without the help of a doctor. However, you will need training from a qualified physician on how to insert them if you would like to do it on your own.

Catheter insertion procedures for men and women are generally the same (only for bladder catheters). The procedure for inserting catheters in men is only different from that used in women for the more obvious anatomical reasons. It is important to know the particular procedure to use in order to avoid any complications. Below are instructions on how to do a male catheter insertion:

  • Sterilize your hands and wear sterile gloves.
  • Clean the opening of the urethra using butadiene.
  • Take the catheter tube and lubricate it using KY jelly for ease in insertion.
  • Hold and stretch the penis in a perpendicular manner and slowly insert the catheter in the urethra until it reaches the bladder. At this point, urine will start to flow out through the catheter.
  • Once in the bladder, inflate the catheter’s balloon slowly using sterile water.
  • Take the drainage bag of the catheter and secure it on the patient’s abdomen or thigh depending on where they are more comfortable.

For female catheter insertion, the procedure is as follows:

  • Sterilize your hands and clean the urethral opening with butadiene. Also, clean the urethral meatus and labia using the same product.
  • Clean the catheter and lubricate it for easy insertion process.
  • Using your hands, locate the urethral meatus by spreading the labia and slowly insert the catheter.
  • Once urine starts flowing through the catheter, insert it a further 2 inches to ensure the catheter has reached the bladder.
  • Inflate the catheter balloon with sterile water. Attach the drainage container and secure it on either the patient’s abdomen or thigh.

foley catheter insertion

Important Things to Consider

During a catheter insertion, there are a few things that you need to observe:

-          Ensure that your hands and urethra are sterilized.

-          Use water-based lubricants only to lubricate the catheter

-          When you or your patient feels pain, do not proceed to insert the catheter

Remember not to do it without prior training. Something so medically beneficial might end up hazardous in the hands of untrained people.