Clean Intermittent Catheterization, Male

ExitCare ImageClean intermittent catheterization (CIC) refers to emptying urine from the bladder with a small, flexible tube (catheter). The bladder is an organ in the body that stores urine. Urine may need to be drained from your bladder with a catheter if:

  • There is an obstruction to the flow of urine out of the bladder or through the urinary tract.

  • The bladder muscles or nerves are not functioning properly to allow normal flow of urine out of the bladder.

Emptying the bladder regularly will help prevent further permanent bladder or kidney damage.


You will need:

  • The specific type and size of catheter as directed by your caregiver.

  • Water-soluble, lubricating jelly (if the catheter is not pre-lubricated). Do not use an oil-based lubricant.

  • A warm, soapy washcloth or pre-moistened wipes.

  • A container to collect the urine (if you are not using the toilet).

  • A container or bag to store the catheter.


Follow these steps for a clean technique:

  1. Collect supplies and place them within your reach.

  2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

  3. Get in a comfortable position. Positions include:

    • Sitting on a toilet, wheelchair, chair, or edge of bed.

    • Standing near a toilet.

    • Lying down with your head raised on pillows.

  4. Position the collection container between your legs (if you are not using the toilet).

  5. Urinate (if you are able).

  6. Place water-soluble, lubricating jelly on about 2 inches (5 cm) of the tip of the catheter (if the catheter is not pre-lubricated).

  7. Set the catheter down on a clean, dry surface within reach.

  8. Hold the penis and gently stretch it out from your body. Pull back any skin covering the end of the penis (foreskin) and wash thoroughly. Wash the penis with the warm, soapy washcloth or pre-moistened wipes. Start by washing at the tip and continue washing towards the base of the penis.

  9. Hold the penis upward at a 45° to 60° angle. This helps to straighten the urethra.

  10. Relax.

  11. Insert the catheter gently into the penis. If you meet resistance during insertion, stop and adjust the position of the penis to a 90° angle. Insert the catheter until urine starts to flow, usually 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm). When urine starts to flow, insert the catheter about 1 inch (3 cm) more.

  12. When the urine stops flowing, strain or gently push on the lower abdominal muscles to help the bladder drain fully.

  13. Gently pull the catheter out in a downward motion.

  14. Pull the foreskin back down over the tip of the penis.

  15. Wash the penis.

  16. Report any changes in the urine to your caregiver.

  17. Discard the urine.

  18. If you are using a multiple use catheter, wash the catheter as directed by your caregiver. Rinse. Allow to air dry. Store the catheter in a clean, dry container or bag.

  19. Wash your hands.


  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid each day. Avoid caffeine. Caffeine may make you have to urinate more frequently and more urgently.

  • Empty your bladder every 4 to 6 hours or as directed by your caregiver.

  • Perform a CIC if you have symptoms of too much urine in your bladder (overdistension) and you are not able to urinate. Symptoms of overdistension include:

  • Restlessness.

  • Sweating or chills.

  • Headache.

  • Flushed or pale color.

  • Cold limbs.

  • Bloated lower abdomen.

  • Discard a multiple use catheter when it becomes dry, brittle, or cloudy (usually after 1 week of use).

  • Take all medications as directed by your caregiver.


  • You are having trouble performing any of the steps.

  • You are leaking urine.

  • You have pain when you urinate.

  • You notice blood in your urine.

  • You feel the need to empty your bladder (void) often.

  • Your urine is cloudy or smells different.

  • You have pain in your abdomen.

  • You develop a rash or sores.


  • You have a fever or persistent symptoms for more than 72 hours.

  • You have a fever and your symptoms suddenly get worse.

  • Your pain becomes severe.