Self Cathing Female Instructions

Zcath Intermittent Self-Catheterization for Female

What is Intermittent Self-Catheterization? It is the process of emptying one’s bladder using a catheter (tube to carry urine) when person is unable to do so naturally on their own. This typically occurs 4-6 times per day or per doctor’s recommendation.
It is natural to feel uneasy when you are first learning how to use a catheter. The instructions below will help you step-by-step through the process so you can confidently and safely perform self-catheterization.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Gather or have access to the following necessary items:

  • access to sink or disposable clean/sterile gloves depending on preference, requirements or situation;
  • hand soap;
  • lubricating gel if needed;
  • hand sanitizer if needed;
  • approved cathing cleansing wipes or solution for the urethral area;
  • cotton balls, cotton swab or gauze pads for application if using a solution like BZK for cleansing;
  • catheter;
  • toilet or collection device for urine drainage;
  • Follow the steps below to ensure proper cleansing:

  • gently pull the skin around the vagina (labia) apart using your nondominant hand;
  • locate the urethra opening above the vagina - you may want to use a mirror if needed;
  • using your dominant hand, cleanse from front to back being sure to only swipe once per wipe, repeat several times to ensure the area is prepped and clean, and per your doctor’s recommendations.
  • Wash hands thoroughly including nails. Take care to not skip this step as it can help prevent infections.
  • Open catheter package carefully and apply lubricant if the catheter is not already pre-lubricated taking the necessary precautions to not contaminate the catheter. USE PACKAGING AND DO NOT TOUCH CATHETER OR TOUCH ON OTHER SURFACES to avoid possible contamination.

  • Users should find a comfortable position, relax, and breath steadily:

  • sitting on the toilet;
  • sitting in a wheelchair;
  • one leg slightly elevated by placing foot on a stool;
  • sitting on a chair or stool;
  • lying down on side;
  • take continuous deep breaths; being relaxed allows for easier catheter insertion.
  • Once the above steps have been completed, use the nondominant hand to gently spread open of the labia and use the dominant hand to insert the catheter using the following steps:

  • use numbing gel if needed;
  • take continuous deep breaths, being relaxed allows for easier catheter insertion;
  • slowly insert lubricated catheter into urethral opening and DO NOT force catheter, this will aid in passing through the urethra smoothly.
  • Stop insertion once flow begins as catheter has reached the bladder opening. When urine flow stops, the bladder has emptied. Slowly remove the catheter and dispose in trash receptacle. Upon completion, rewash hands thoroughly.


    Be sure to notice if there is any burning afterwards, foul odor, if urine is dark or cloudy, or if there is blood in urine. Consult a doctor if this occurs. Follow your doctor’s recommendations for how many times you should empty your bladder each day.


    If you are having trouble inserting the catheter here are some useful tips: • take continuous breaths and try to relax; • be sure the catheter well lubricated; • and try changing the angle of the catheter into the urethra.
    If you are having difficulty removing the catheter, here are some things to try: • relax as much as possible and remember to breathe continuously; • cough while simultaneously and gently removing catheter; • and use a spiral motion and slowly remove the catheter.

    Disclaimer: Please note that these self-catheterization instructions are a general guideline. It should not be used in place of a visit, call, or consultation with a physician or other healthcare provider.