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How to Avoid Catheter Problems

How to avoid catheter problems for men... what you need to know about male catheter insertion:

What is a male catheter?

A male catheter is designed for men and is longer than for women. You have further to go through the penis to get into the bladder. They are approximately 16" which includes the ends.

Sounds scary!

Yes it does if you have never had one inserted. It is not the favorite use of the male penis that's for sure! Just the opposite of what you want!

So for many men the idea of it is best to avoid it. Who wants one??? The reality 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 needing to use a catheter for men. The prostate squeezes the urethra shut and you can't go, no matter how badly you want to!

The pain becomes terrible. You will end up in the emergency ward if you do not know about male catheter insertion.

It is possible to insert it yourself once you know how to avoid catheter problems.

How do you avoid catheter problems?

  1. choose the right kind: male catheters
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. For problems with dribbling use an external male catheter

Please read my other pages on catheters to learn much more!

Prostate Health Diet ebook

Catheter Prostate Kit

Here is a list of items to create the minimal Prostate Kit. You really won’t need the optional items, but I list them in case you can’t find the coude catheter: SpeediCaths. If you want other less expensive catheters, go here: Other Catheters

Minimum Prostate Kit:

  • 1 SpeediCath catheter lubricated: SpeediCath Coudé Intermittent Catheters or Straight-Tip SpeediCath. Choose 12 gauge 14” (#28492 - 12 FR, 14" Length) catheter for men. Buy several so that you have back-ups for the car, home, work, travel bag, etc. 12 gauge is the thickness of the tube. If you can't get 12s then 14s are ok as well but not quite as thin. 10s are too thin.
  • 6– 10 Alcohol Prep Pads. You can get 200 for a few bucks.
  • Xylocaine (very optional): Xylocaine Ointment Tube or Lidocaine With SpeediCath, you really do not need these, but if you are worried, then get some.
  • KY jelly (also very optional)
  • A plastic ziplock bag to hold all the items together as your emergency prostate kit.

For home use:

  • The same kit as described above, but you can substitute a bottle of alcohol with Kleenex tissues that you wet for sterilizing in place of the Alcohol Prep Pads.
  • Include 2 towels.

Tip: Add a SpeediCath Coudé Intermittent Touchless Catheter to your first aid kit.


If you are having troubles inserting then it may be best to go to your emergency at your hospital!

In case you can't here is what to try.

In the very rare case that a lubricated catheter is unable to pass through the prostate using all the above techniques, Use a higher gauge one: if a 12 did not work, then use a 14. If 14 did not work, use a 16.

This is contrary to what you think that a thinner one would be easier to succeed. The problem is that it is not strong enough to push through your enlarged prostate. A wider one will do the trick!

Or if you have tried a 14 or 16 gauge and they haven't worked then dropping down to a 12 or 10 may be successful.

Make sure the blue line is pointing upwards so the coude tip is up and you will be able to push a little firmer. Use some Xylocaine before inserting as described earlier.

First Choice:

SpeediCath Coudé Intermittent Touchless CatheterSpeediCath Coudé Intermittent Touchless Catheter



Olive Tip Coude Catheter

That's still a soft catheter.

Another option is a stiffer one:

Stiffer Catheter

But the size is the key when you have problems getting through. That is why it is wise to have a bigger size as a Plan B just in case.

Go from Catheter Problems to Types of Catheters

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What Other Visitors Have Asked or Said

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I'm a care provider for my older significant other, who has an enlarged prostate, and needs to catheterize. He's too scared to attempt doing it on his …

sore penis 
penis still sore after feb. 9 2015 surgery Now july 2 2015. No desire for sex. Cant get it up. Last psa was 0.I am 76 yrs old great health. ------ …

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