Male Catheter Insertion for Prostate Troubles - Part 1
A male catheter is designed for men and is longer than for women. They are approximately 16" which includes the ends. Though the mere fact that you hear catheter may sound scary, the reality on the other hand is that they can save your life and make living with a prostate problem much easier. A male catheter can also help you void when you can't and give you a chance to learn how to heal your prostate. Prostate enlargement is the leading cause of catheter usage in men.
So learning about catheters is an important first step so you can choose the best one to use. And even without the best ones, you will still succeed, saving you time and stress from going to a hospital if you have a sudden prostate attack that shuts you down. This is called acute urinary retention where not a drop makes it out though you feel the urge to pee.
This post is just for information only I do not take responsibility for your decision to do self-catheterization, the term used to describe the do-it-yourself process of doing your own male catheter insertion. In real situations, some men are able to do their own urinary male catheter insertion, it is a decision you should take in consultation with your medical professional. And if this is an emergency situation where you cannot get to a doctor then you will find the steps Roger Mason outline invaluable. According to Roger Mason:
There are several very specialized types of catheters but, for our purposes, there are two versions of catheters for men: internal and external catheters.
- Internal catheter = Stopped. Can’t Go.
- External catheter = Going. Can’t Stop.
The internal catheters are used to help you pee when your prostate blocks your pee tube. The external catheters are for situations in which you do not want to have to run (or can’t run) to the washroom to pee (e.g., traveling or at a ball game), or if you have a sudden urgency that you can’t control. It is like a condom with a tube at the end that goes to a small bag on your leg. You go when you have to and can empty the bag later. A condom catheter is a very convenient device with no pain and peace of mind.
In this article, I focus on the internal catheters because those are the ones we need to use to pee when are face with blockage. There are basically two types of internal catheters:
- single use catheters (also known as short-term or intermittent catheters) are removed after you have emptied your bladder, and
- long-term catheters (known as indwelling Foley catheters or just Foley catheters), which have an inflatable balloon function at the end to allow the catheter to stay inside without slipping out. These are used after surgery or for extreme conditions such as acute urinary retention.
So supposedly you have a sudden prostate block and can't pee, what you want at that moment is a simple, single-use, male catheter. With regards to these single-use, internal male catheters. For emergency care, you would want to get 12-gauge catheters. These are quite thin. Fourteen-gauge is acceptable, even 16, if that is all you can find. Boys use 10s. They come all the way to 28 gauge.
Also there are two types of catheters for single-use: very flexible and a bit stiffer. They each have an advantage. The flexible ones are very soft and pliable, which is nice but may be a bit harder to insert all the way through. The stiffer versions allow an easier transit during the last stage through the prostate and into the bladder. From research experience, I recommend having both available. They are very inexpensive.
Roger Masson provided some good tip here: Buy some Xylocaine or Lidocaine ointment in a tube. Some Xylocaine brands come with a special cone applicator cap that you insert the tip into the opening of your penis and squeeze some in (you can do this with just the tip of the tube if it comes with no special applicator). It lubricates the catheter and acts as a desensitizer so you barely feel the catheter going in.
Lubricated catheters are relatively new. These are the Rolls Royce of catheters because the lubrication makes them easy to insert! The whole catheter is lubricated. They just glide right in! They do not need any Xylocaine unless you feel extra lubrication is needed. They are called SpeediCaths or Touchless catheters: The best of them all! They are fast to use, basically require nothing else other than something to wash the tip of your penis — soap and water, or an alcohol or iodine wipe. And they are fast to insert.
There are two types of catheter tips:
- straight-tipped catheters or
- Coudé (French for elbowed) catheters. The Coudé ones have a slight bend at the tip to allow easier passage through an enlarged prostate. This angled part is only about 1/6” long. The Coude catheter helps get through the last bit of the prostate, especially if it is enlarged. But straight tipped ones are fine, too. It is just a matter of preference. But both or either will work just fine.
Adopted from Roger Mason’s Teachings on avoiding catheter problems?
- choose the right kind: male catheters
- Choose the right gauge: they come from boy thicknesses of 8s and 10s. The ideal for one time use is 12s and 14s. These are quite thin and far less painful than you imagine. In fact a better word to use is discomfort and not painful. You will sing its praises once the urine exits!
- Temporary use or indwelling catheters for longer term problems (like recovery from surgery or a serious bladder infection). For temporary use choose a single use catheter (also known as short-term or intermittent catheters - they are removed after you have emptied your bladder. Long-term catheters (known as indwelling Foley catheters or just Foley catheters) have an inflatable balloon function at the end to allow the catheter to stay inside without slipping out.
- Learn how to insert single use catheters here on this site. If you do this properly it is far less traumatic than having to rush to a hospital in the middle of the night. Today's catheters are easy to use, some come pre-lubricated making them easy and relatively comfortable to insert.
- Use the right kind of catheter tip. For an enlarged prostate use a Coude catheter. The tip has a slight bend to make it easier to go through the prostate.
- For problems with dribbling use an external male catheter
Self-Catheterization for Men
Lie down with your prostate kit that has a simpler non-lubricated catheter. You will need to be more careful with sterility because more handling is involved. Be meticulous to avoid infection.
This is how to insert a male catheter using a non-lubricated catheter:
- As above wash hands and penis and then lie down with kit beside you. Hopefully you will have KY, Xylocaine, or another lubricant - but always a water soluble one never an oil base like vaseline. Vaseline will block the holes near the tip of the catheter and prevent the urine coming out!
- Sterilize everything—the tube, the cap, the penis. I use many pieces of Kleenex with alcohol as I do all this.
- Remove the catheter from the package by touching only the external end. The package is not sterile so discard.
- Wipe your fingers again with alcohol and then the catheter and place on several flat pieces of Kleenex beside you.
- Wipe first the KY or Xylocaine tube and then open it. If there is a special applicator tip, wipe it and place it on the tip of the tube with your sterile fingers. If not, then wipe the tip of the tube really well with alcohol.
- Wipe your penis tip area and glans with alcohol to disinfect.
- Hold your penis with one hand and pull back the glans and open the tip.
- Insert the tip of the tube and squeeze some lubricant or Xylocaine into the penis.
- Wipe the tube and tip again for reuse. Wipe fingers again. Wiping always with fresh alcohol on tissue. Always remember to keep everything sterile
- Grab the catheter and wipe that again at the tip area up towards the external end.
- Then apply some lubricant or Xylocaine to the catheter tip up maybe 3-4 inches, being careful to avoid the openings where the urine will enter. Never use Vaseline—it is oil based and it could block the tip openings for urine entry into the catheter.
- Now you are ready to insert the catheter into the tip of the penis making sure not to touch the catheter to anything but the entry into the penis.
- Once inside, you start to push it in gently but at a steady slow pace. PULL YOUR PENIS STRONGLY SO IT IS STICKING STRAIGHT UP at a right angle to your body. STRETCHING IT WILL MAKE IT EASIER TO FIND ITS WAY THROUGH AS IT GOES DEEPER! THIS IS AN IMPORTANT TECHNIQUE!
- You can wipe the tube after the first few inches with Kleenex and alcohol to make sure it is sterile as you push it through and can add some more lubricant or Xylocaine if you want.
- Then follow the above instructions, paying special attention to being careful and turning the catheter to help it find its way home into the bladder.
- DIY male catheter insertion requires that you go gently but steadily, twisting it slightly as you do so. If there is any spot where it does not want to go further, then do NOT push hard! Instead use finesse to twist the catheter until it can find a way through. FINESSE - GENTLE - TWIST. Pay attention please!!! If you still find it hard to get through, it is because your prostate is really inflamed and enlarged. Take your time to breathe deep and relax. Male catheter insertion requires being gentle! The catheter will at this point be sliding outwards some from its furthest point inside. Just twist it a bit and start moving it back deeper in. With gentle finesse, it will find a way through. Just be patient until it pushes through. But never ever force it. Just twist a bit and gently push. Back off if you need to and move it gently back with a slight twist and you will succeed. Always pull your penis up as described above.
- Once you pop through into the bladder (and it will seem like a lot of the catheter has disappeared inside you), suddenly urine will squirt free from the external end. Just put your thumb against the end and place it in the bottle. Then push the catheter a little further so that it is well inside the bladder.
- Keep the bottle as low as you can beside you so gravity works to void the bladder.
- You should now be emptying and feeling such a wonderful sense of relief. Aaaah! Oh so good! At last relief!
- Job well done! Keep holding the catheter in place so that it doesn’t slip out a bit.
- Just lie there and feel the blessings of this little device that just saved your life!
- The bottle will be receiving more and more of the urine, slowing down eventually to a trickle.
- Relax and empty. Oh feels so good now!
- After a few minutes or so—there is no rush—and no more urine flows, then slowly remove a bit of the catheter towards the neck of the bladder. That may release the last bit of urine near the neck of the bladder.
- When done pull the catheter all the way out and discard beside you.
- Rest a bit before clean up.
- Sleep if you can.
- There is no need to worry now, because the act of putting the catheter through seems to open the channel and keeps it open after it is out. Soon, you will have your first pee. It may burn a bit as the ammonia in the urine touches any part that may have been irritated by the catheter but this should be very minor as these are such good catheters. Any discomfort will soon pass as the day progresses.
- If you do not know the cause, do your detective work and figure out what caused the prostate attack. Now is the time to personally test all that you recently ate. During the day after you've done male catheter insertion, you may feel more of a burning sensation as you pee due to irritation. It will pass in a day or so. That’s why the SpeediCaths with the lubrication on the whole tube is much gentler on you and is superior to the tubes of lubricants—it is hyper slippery. It makes male catheter insertion so much easier!
Note: It is possible over the next while (days to weeks) to pass some blood and blood-colored urine or even clots of blood from possible trauma of using the catheter or debris from the prostate. This condition will pass and is not cause for alarm unless you get steady amounts of fresh blood, which is a serious concern. Then seek medical help. Steady amounts of fresh blood should not result from regular use of a catheter.
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