Catheters Tips

The team at Paralogic talk to customer every day and are full of knowledge about catheter use and incontinence, here we share our best tips with you.


Find the right catheter for you

It’s important to find the right catheter for you. Everyone is unique and we suggest that when you start catheterisation you contact Paralogic and try a sample pack to get the right fit for you, rather than just order a size you have been recommended. Sample packs are only $4 and includes 8 catheters and lubricant, sent express post anywhere in Australia.

The benefit of a sample pack is we can send you a variety of sizes and catheter types to you ensure you have the best fit for your lifestyle.


Different styles of catheters for different needs

Catheters are available in Male (40cm) and Female (18cm) lengths. Don’t let the names deter you, as a female you may find that a male length catheter suits you, as it allows you extended reach to void into a toilet.

Male catheters are available in standard and soft firmness. Soft catheters may be useful if you have problems with a swollen prostate. A Tiemann or Coudé-tipped catheter, is angled upward at the tip to assist in negotiating the upward bend in the male urethra and may also be useful if you have an enlarged prostate gland.


Make sure to check your supply of catheters regularly and order early

These items cannot be purchased at the chemist and most hospitals and clinics don’t carry stock for patients that have run out. You can always set a reminder in your phone to check your catheter supply every week or month. Alternatively, the team at Paralogic can set you up a recurring order to take the worry out of forgetting to order.


Women beginning catheterisation

For women beginning intermittent catheterisation, you may need to use a mirror at first to see what you are doing and to ensure that the catheter is inserted correctly. You may find a mirror is not necessary after you become used to the process, but it can be helpful as you learn the ropes.   


Male external catheters – a great alternative to pads

Male external catheters are a great solution for males suffering from incontinence who are currently wearing pads. Often called Condom or Uridome catheters, essentially, they are an adhesive condom with tubing at the end that allows you to collect urine in a leg bag. Male external catheters are made to be worn for 24 hours so can be especially useful for men who wake several times a night to urinate.


Know your catheter size

Catheters are differentiated by the diameter of the tubing. Catheters are sized according to a system known as French gauge. Catheters are referred to as FG12 or FR12 (and sometimes even CH). All mean the same thing. Each size of catheter has its own unique colour. This colour will be used in the funnel end on an intermittent catheter, or a plastic ring on the connector of a Foley or suprapubic catheter.

Size and colour chart

 Size  Width  Colour
 FG8  2.66mm  Blue  
 FG10  3.33mm  Black  
 FG12  4.00mm  White  
 FG14  4.66mm  Green  
 FG16  5.33mm  Orange  
 FG18  6.00mm  Red  
 FG20  6.66mm  Yellow  
 FG22  7.33mm  Purple  
 FG24  8.00mm  Light Blue  


Below are some tips submitted to us by our lovely customers.

Please note these do not constitute medical advice and the instructions given to you by your medical practitioner should be followed.

Comments (22)


28 April 2020
I was taught to turn a freezer bag inside out on 1 hand to minimize hand contact to catheters

Tips from a Continence Nurse Advisor

5 November 2018
My best tip for women using catheters and I have followed this advice myself for many years, is to learn your own anatomy well initially with a mirror, but when self-catheterising – tap the opening of the urethra gently with a finger tip of the non-dominant hand and then insert the lubricated catheter held in the clean, dominant hand. We don’t have 3 hands to use a mirror and trying to position one strapped to our leg becomes frustrating and time consuming. To self-catheterise by feel is quick and easy and becomes very much easier over time. For most of us there is a minimal sensation associated with a gentle tap on the urethral opening so we know we are in the right place and can then insert the catheter we have ready in the dominant hand immediately. This is how I teach my clients after teaching them on a female model and very few of them have any difficulty long term with this technique. Margaret - Continence Nurse Advisor QLD

Re: Mirror Use

3 November 2018
Hi there, I empathise. I have been self-catheterising five times a day for nearly 18 months now and have only managed to do it once or twice without a mirror, and that was very early on. This caused me intense frustration and, despite seeking a lot of 'tips and tricks' from continence nurses (who seemed to think it was an easy thing to do!), I was still unable to do it. I then decided that I'd find my own way. When I'm at work or travelling, I have a mirror in my small black bag containing my catheters, lube sachets, baby wipes, small jug and hand sanitiser. I close the lid of the loo and use it as a base for my supplies. I set up my mirror on the toilet lid and stand while I catheterise into the small jug, which I then empty into the loo and wipe dry if I'm not in a disabled toilet, in which case I rinse it then dry it. The catheters, wipes and lube sachet get disposed of into the feminine hygiene unit. The only time this method lets me down is when the public toilets don't have lids, which is sometimes the case for newer disabled toilets, and in those that have been vandalised. I hope this is helpful.

Infection prevention

25 October 2018
Depending on which brand of disposable catheter you use when you go out, some brands advise the user to attach the packaging that the catheter comes in to the basin using the sticky section so you can remove the catheter with free hands. I would recommend you stick the packaging to your upper person and not the basin. This would greatly lower the risk of bug contamination.

Male Catheter Use

24 October 2018
I use Medi-swabs to sanitize my penis prior to inserting catheter with the aid of L-gel sterile lubricant in 3gm foil pack. I use NC161M-Soft catheters at the present time. I have had bladder infections in the past but OK so far now. Although I self catheterise against the advice of the GP, I have the choice of self catheterising versus nocturnal discomfort and lack of sleep with the resultant fatigue. It is certainly helpful to read the tips and experiences of others. Thank you


24 October 2018
My son has a small squeeze bottle of hand sanitiser that he uses to wash his hands just before he does his catheter. This is easier than relying on having a sink near the toilet and having to dry hands etc. The last thing he does before he touches the catheter inside the wrapper is to wash his hands with hand sanitiser. He keeps one hand 'clean' at all times. This is the hand that touches the catheter to insert it. The other hand can touch the wrapper and anything else.

Male catheter use

24 October 2018
The night before I use a catheter I try and straighten out the package and then leave it sandwiched under a large box of tissues with a weight on the box. This provides a much straighter catheter which is easier to use. When inserting the catheter I rotate it to assist with the entry. It also appears to be easier to insert if you have a relatively full bladder. As part of this process after washing my hands and applying hand sanitiser I remove the paper cover without touching the section of the catheter that will be inserted. Whilst this removal was difficult initially changes seem to have been made to make it easier but more recent catheter packages seem to use the old glue? The catheters that I use (FG 16) are rigid enough to allow for the lubricant to be applied once the paper is removed and then the catheter is inserted whilst being held just below coloured handle. Using this process I make sure that the part of the catheter that is inserted is not handled at all and does not come into contact with anything apart from the packaging and the target object. In over three years of use I have not had any infections.

Paralogic Response
Thanks for your excellent feedback - we did have some changes with the glue that is used to hold the packaging on our nelaton catheters together. Following customer feedback we have made further changes with the next shipment and hope to find a happy medium.

Dealing with a Urethal Stricture (Male)

24 October 2018
For daily or less frequent self-catheterisation, I find Aqium sanitiser works well to sterilise hands and organ. Use plenty of lubricant to ease in the catheter. I have been dealing with this problem for several years now fairly successfully. Haven't needed a urethral stretching for over 18 months.

Trimming a Condom Catheter

24 October 2018
I highly recommend cutting about a centimetre off the end of the condom catheters as they often kink and then balloon up and come off. I use large bags as my husband drinks very much water sometimes 3000 ml output !

Male Catheters

23 October 2018
I cut the green plastic end off, then wash my hands. Then I cut the end off the lubricant and use a huggies to wipe the penis. Now take the catheter out of the sleeve and form a loop for better control. Dip the catheter into the lube and now into the penis. After the procedure, back flush the catheter and put it back in the sleeve for disposal.

Female Catheter Use Tips

23 October 2018
I have been self catheterising for over 20 years now and I find it a lot easier at home. I keep my catheters standing up in a container next to the toilet along with the lubricant and if the toilet lid is down lift it up before you prep. I am very prone to infection so I ensure that I wash my hands thoroughly and then I prefer cotton balls moistened with boiled water and salt in a squeeze bottle, so I don't touch the moistened side of the cotton balls for swabbing. Nurses now recommend baby wipes but I find them too abrasive. Recently the glue changed on the catheters which makes it hard to open the packaging with wet fingers, so try to open the packaging a bit before you wash your hands. Hopefully the glue issue will be rectified soon. Also, always use the disabled toilet when you are out even if you are not visibly disabled, you are disabled by the fact that you need to self catheterise.

Female easy usage

23 October 2018
I found that standing up (like a male) to use catheters while using a public toilet, is a much cleaner action. I even use this method at home occasionally, as it is simpler and quicker. This will only help ladies not in a wheelchair of course.

Male catheter use.

23 October 2018
When opening the catheter l rip the plastic half way up the catheter, this allows me to hold the plastic, once the catheter is inserted half way l can then remove the rest of the wrapper. This seems to help with infections as l only touch the catheter minimumly.

Antiphospholipid Syndrome

23 October 2018
What a subject but the reality is, when one must use these devices it is absolutely critical to ensure 100% hygiene I have a condition called Antiphospholipid Syndrome. I'm not sure why I am the only one in my large family of Brothers with this condition. I use a catheter prior to going to bed of an evening, and possibly around twice weekly.

Try and buy

23 October 2018
I have been using catheters for many years now. I use FG16 (male). I like this size due to the flow and reducing the time to complete the job. I found smaller gauges to take to long this is a personal choice. When at home I also use a male urine bottle so I can eye ball and smell. Sounds weird i know but I don't always feel pain with infections and smelling is an early sign. Thank god I don't get many infections. Paralogic are an awesome service. Please use them they are only too willing to help. Thanks

Wonderful Tips

23 October 2018
I wish when i started catheterising there would have being something like this to help me i think you are doing a great job.You have made it so much easier for me.Thanks

Lubrication of Catheters

23 October 2018
Hi, without getting too personal, I disused the method of using a lubricant (male catheter single use), and found that just passing a small amount of urine if you can, was quite adequate to provide sufficient lubrication for insertion. It is also one thing less to introduce infection. I have had cystitis a couple of times over 4 years so I know the pitfalls. I have reused catheters at times. Do a complete flush and then putting it in a bowl of very salty water, keeps them sanitary, but only reuse them once. Helped when I was traveling and ran out.

Paralogic Response
Thanks for your comments. Just a note that our intermittent catheters are sold as single use products and we would not recommend reuse, whatever method is used for cleaning and storing.

Continence Nurses are a fabulous resource

23 October 2018
I have been using catheters for years now and was shown the ropes by an incontinence nurse at the urologist surgery.

The right Catheter for me

23 October 2018
Use the sample packs from the suppliers to try different catheters including the travel packs. It is important to find ones that suit. You should have a range of catheters to cover all parts of your new active lifestyle. The lubricated catheters are really useful at times. The travel packs can make life so easy. Both these catheters, when used daily, are quite expensive so I have a small supply for those times when preparing an un-lubricated catheter is not safe or convenient. The key factor is safety, one Urinary Tract Infection costs much more than the retail price of the catheters. Choose carefully because companies like Paralogic put a lot of effort in presenting safe, reliable and cost effective products. Most of all follow the instruction given by the rehabilitation nurses. They have "been there and done that", most regular nurses have not had the range of experience needed to develop your safe routine. In 18 moths I have had only one Urinary Tract Infection thanks to the procedure developed with me by Robyn my rehab nurse.

Stretched Bladded

23 October 2018
Thank you paralogic for your service. I have a stretched bladder and am unable to urinate completely. Do not have any urge to urinate till I am holding at least 400 ml. Do you have any suggestions for exercise or other therapies that may improve this situation ? Currently use intermittent catheter twice daily. Morning and evening. Void small quantities from early afternoon . Would be grateful for any suggestions.

Paralogic Response
We don't have any marvellous insights for you but perhaps some of our other customers do... our key recommendation would be to follow up with a doctor or health professional. The Continence Foundation of Australia also has a Free Helpline which is staff by continence nurses and they may be able to give you some guidance - 1800 33 00 66

Technique for keeping catheter untouched and clean

23 October 2018
I prepare single-use Ziploc or slide-seal baggies that include a catheter and a single use 3g sachet of lubricant. I do up a stash of these and slip one or two into a pocket before heading out. Regular-firmness males catheters are happy enough in a 'sandwich' size bag; softies curl happily into a smaller 'snack size' bag. When it's time to use one, put half the lube on the tip of your penis or urethral opening and half into the opened mouth of the paper catheter wrap. Pull out a few inches of the catheter length then close the flaps of the packet as you withdraw the length of the catheter through the dollop of lube. This lubricates the length of the catheter. Then use the clean (albeit lubed-up) inside of the flaps of the opening of the packet to hold the catheter tube to insert. This way, your hands, clean or not, never touch the catheter going inside your body. So, no matter how dirty an environment you are in, whether at the football, out in the bush or at a dodgy servo, your catheterisation process is always clean. When finished, seal everything back into the bag and bin the lot . At home, the process is the same but without the bags. The stash of catheters is in the same clean ensuite drawer as the box of single-use, sterile lube sachets. Experiment with different formulas of lube to find one that is lubricative enough but also viscous enough to stay where it should for a few seconds and not just fall off too early.

Paralogic Response
Excellent advice - thank you so much for sharing your technique

Mirror Use

23 October 2018
After four years I have never progressed to being able to catheterise without a mirror. I would be so grateful for advice, as this is a huge issue to manage, especially when travelling.

Paralogic Response
Thank you so much for your comment, what a huge difficulty for you to overcome. We would love to hear from some other customers who have some tips for you... We would also suggest that making an appointment to see a specialist continence nurse or ringing the Continence Foundation of Australia Free Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 might prove useful.

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