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Self-Catheterization after Hysterectomy

From the Pelvic Floor Articles List

self-catheterization after hysterectomyI recently had pelvic floor surgery and was sent home with a catheter. I'm now learning how to manage using it. Any pointers?


Catheters come in many different kinds and sizes, but your doctor should have prescribed one that will work best for you. Be sure and call your doctor's office to ask any questions you may have about the catheter or catheterizing yourself. You can buy catheters at a medical supply store. You will need plastic bags, KY Jelly (or equivalent but not petroleum jelly).

Find out from the doctor how often you should catheterize yourself. Typically this is several times a day to six times a day. Always start your day by emptying your bladder and always while sitting on the toilet. Your doctor or nurse should show you how to do this.

From the National Institute of Health (NIH) these instructions may be helpful.

Follow these steps to insert your catheter:
  • Wash your hands well with soap and water.
  • You may use disposable gloves, if you prefer not to use your bare hands. The gloves do not need to be sterile, just clean.
  • Gently pull the labia open, and find the urinary opening. You can use a mirror to help you at first.
  • Wash your labia 3 times, using a fresh antiseptic towelette or baby wipe each time. Or, you may use cotton balls with mild soap and water. Rinse well and dry if you use soap and water.
  • Wash the labia from front to back, up and down the middle, and on both sides.
  • Get your container ready, or sit on the toilet.
  • Apply the K-Y Jelly or other gel to the tip and top 2 inches of the catheter. (Some catheters come with gel already on them.)
  • Gently slide the catheter up into your urethra until urine starts to flow. Do not force the catheter. Start over if it is not going in well. Try to relax and breathe deeply.
  • Let the urine flow into the toilet or container. Bear down 1 or 2 times to empty all the urine from your bladder.
  • When urine stops flowing, slowly remove the catheter. Pinch the end closed to avoid getting wet.
  • Wipe around your urinary opening and labia again with a towelette, baby wipe, or cotton ball.
  • If you are using a container to collect urine, empty it into the toilet. Always close the toilet lid before flushing to prevent germs from spreading.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.

Be sure and wash your catheter every day.


This content was written by a member of HysterSisters.com as a non-medical professional based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

06-13-2011 - 10:29 PM


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