Problems with hand dexterity tend to occur after a neurological or brain disease and can impact your motor functions. As a result, many individuals struggle with bladder problems.

If that’s you, you might be considering self-catheterization. But before you get started, it’s vital to understand the different types of catheters and find which one suits your needs. Here we’ve created an in-depth guide to learning how to self-catheter:

Choosing The Right Type Of Catheter

With the advancement of technology, new catheter designs have emerged in the industry. Let’s take a deeper look at the five best types of catheters to help you make the right choice:

Straight Tip Catheter

Straight intermittent catheters are the traditional simple catheters made of silicone, rubber, or plastic. They’re also referred to as straight intermittent catheters since you need to lubricate the tip manually before insertion.

Straight-tip catheters are available in different sizes, including pocket-sized, allowing you to carry them while on the go. Furthermore, you can find tubes or single-use packets of catheter lubricant.

Coudé Tip Catheter

The word “Coudé” is French for “elbow,” which describes the curved tip of the Coudé tip catheter. It’s the perfect product for men with an enlarged prostrate or surgery.

The curved tip makes it easy for you to navigate the catheter and urinate safely and effectively.

Hydrophilic Catheter

Hydrophilic catheters are similar to straight catheters except for their unique hydrophilic coating. Applying water to this catheter makes it super slippery, which provides a more comfortable, smoother catheterization experience.

Most hydrophilic male catheters come with a water packet or are prepackaged in sterile water. As a result, you don’t have to directly touch the catheter, which minimizes the risk of Urinary Tract Infection (UIT).

Closed System Catheters

Unlike touchless or no-touch catheters, closed-system catheters feature a pre-lubricated catheter attached to a urine collection bag. Therefore, the catheter never comes in direct contact with your hands, making it the safest, most effective self-catheterization option. However, closed-system catheters are ideal for single use.

Most closed-system catheters include pre-lubricated products alongside a collection bag, allowing you to take them everywhere. Some closed catheter kits also have catheter insertion supplies like gloves and antiseptic wipes to help create a sterile environment.

Indwelling Catheter

Indwelling catheters stay inside your body for extended periods. These are available in two types:

  • Suprapubic Indwelling Catheter: You can insert a suprapubic indwelling catheter through your stomach into the bladder. 
  • Urethral Indwelling Catheter: You can insert this catheter through your urethra and the bladder.

Typically, your healthcare professional inserts the indwelling catheter inside your body. You can use these for as long as a couple of months.

How To Find The Right Catheter Size?

Finding the perfectly sized catheter is crucial to ensure a comfortable and safe experience. If your catheter is too long or too short, you’ll struggle to handle it and empty your bladder.

You can find catheters in the following three sizes:

  • Female: These are typically short, measuring 6 to 8 inches. 
  • Male: These are the longest catheters and are often 16 inches. 
  • Pediatric: These are medium-sized, measuring up to 12 inches.

Consider discussing the perfect catheter type and size with a healthcare professional.

Step-By-Step Guide To Self-Catheterization

Here’s a step-by-step guide to starting self-catheterization:

  • Apply lubricant to the catheter (if needed).
  • Hold the catheter until the urine stops flowing. After that, slowly remove the catheter.
  • Peel the paper side of your catheter’s packet to ensure your hand doesn’t touch it.
  • Set out all the necessary supplies, including the catheter, water, soap, mirror, and sterile wipes.
  • Use firm, gentle pressure to insert the catheter into the urethra. Continue sliding the catheter until it reaches your bladder and urine starts flowing.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with water and soap. 
  • While removing the catheter, place a finger over the other end of the tube to avoid leakage. Dispose of it in your trash and wash your hands.

Tips To Remember When Self-Catheterizing

If you’re self-catheterizing for the first time, here are several tips to help you ensure safety and avoid pain and discomfort:

  • Catheterize up to 4 to 6 times daily 
  • Create a sterile environment to minimize the risk of UIT
  • Don’t try to force a catheter inside 
  • Ensure you apply a sufficient amount of lubricant to avoid friction 
  • Never reuse single-use catheters
  • Remember to drink fluids regularly 
  • Talk to your doctor as soon as you witness any red flag


By now, you know how to self-catheterize safely and effectively. Remember to practice and apply the catheter gently. We also recommend consulting your doctor before using a self-catheter.

You can visit Active Life Medical Product’s website to get started catheterizing. You can find an extensive catalog of high-quality and affordable catheters in different sizes and features.

How Active Life Medical Products Can Help With Catheter Supplies

You need a trusted catheter supplier when you require catheter supplies. Active Life Medical Products makes ordering the entire catheter supply process easy. Our Product Specialists can help you get your prescribed catheter covered through most insurances. Everything will be delivered directly to your front door.

Call Active Life Medical Products at (800) 319-2336 to place your order.