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The Complete Guide to Self Catheterization

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Getting Started

with self-catheterization can feel overwhelming. There are new terms, lots of product options, and new instructions from your doctor to navigate. We get it! So we’ve put together a series of videos and documents to help you learn how to self-catheterize.

There’s no help like an expert! Reach us by phone or through email.

Intermittent Self-Catheterization

is the most widely used and safest alternative besides going to the bathroom traditionally. There are a ton of reasons people self-catheterize in the short and long term, and far more people are doing it than you think!

Commonly Asked Questions

We’re always happy to answer any questions about the use of intermittent catheters. Still, we are not healthcare providers, and the information we give is not a substitution for medical advice. If you have any personal concerns related to the use of catheters, please contact your doctor.

How do I know which catheter to buy?

All the options can make choosing a catheter overwhelming. Your healthcare provider may have suggestions for what best suits your needs, or you can give us a call! Still, we put together a cheat sheet of terms to get you started.


Some catheters come pre-coated in a water-based coating and don’t need lube.

French (FR or CH): 

Measures the diameter of the catheter. The rule of thumb is to use the smallest French that provides enough drainage.

Coude Tip:

Sometimes called a Tiemann tip, a coude tip is designed with a curved tip to make it easier to navigate around the prostate.

Closed System: 

Some intermittent catheters come with a drainage bag. These are ideal for people who have difficulty emptying their catheter into a toilet or need to measure their output.

Are there any complications that can arise during the use of Intermittent Catheters?
Intermittent catheters are the safest way to go to the washroom besides the traditional way but are not risk-free. People who self-catheterize are more likely to experience urinary tract infections and stones. Failure to drain your bladder could lead to autonomic dysreflexia, which can be fatal. Learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms is key to using a catheter safely. If you are experiencing symptoms of autonomic dysreflexia, don’t wait. Go to the emergency room immediately!

Is it normal to bleed while self-cathing?

Blood while cathing is not abnormal and can come from a couple of sources. Still, you should check with your doctor if you notice blood in your urine. Large amounts of bleeding is not normal.

I have limited mobility, how can I make my catheter routine easier?

Learning how to self-catheterize offers unique challenges for everyone, but don’t worry! There are a ton of strategies and accessories to adapt your catheter routine to you. Talk to your healthcare provider or give us a call for advice! View our accessories here.

I don't even know where to start!

Any big lifestyle change can be confusing and overwhelming, but we’re here to help. At Chair Stuff, we specialize in personalized service and are here to help you navigate the challenges and confusion of this change. Please GIVE US A CALL.

Advice from the Pros

No one knows the ins and outs of cathing better than the people who do it every day!

Looking For More Resources?

Here are some of our favourites…


is often a huge part of adapting to a new and different lifestyle after an injury or diagnosis. You might have a supportive community of family and friends, or you might be feeling very alone. Regardless, there is a thriving online community of catheter users to discover.
Chair Stuff is a proud supporter of SCI BC, whose work provides resources, meetups, and events that can help you feel less alone while learning to re-navigate the world with a new injury or if you are simply ready to become more involved with the community.



Georgina is a 22-year-old student in England and a wheelchair and catheter user. She produces videos about living with EDS, POTS, CVS & CFS on her youtube channel Georgina’s Journey.


Brian suffered a spinal cord injury after a motorcycle accident in 2010 and makes videos about his experiences and wants to help people who are recently injured. You can find him on YouTube as Paralyzed Living.

Amy Lee Fisher

Amy spread information about her life with chronic illness from 2013 to 2021. With a followership of 300k, it’s safe to say that people listened. She passed away earlier this year but you can check out her content on her primary channel Amy Lee Fisher or her secondary channel, Amy’s Life. Our condolences to her partner Tom and her family, she will be greatly missed.

Nick and Anthi

Nick and Anthi set up their channel after Nick’s Accident in 2019 left him quadriplegic. They’ve made several vlogs and videos about everything from the rehabilitation process to trying wheelchair rugby. You can find their channel Rolling Ever After with Nick & Anthi on YouTube.