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Learn about intermittent self-catheterization (IC), a safe procedure that can help bring your urinary symptoms under control.


Intermittent self-catheterization (IC) is a safe procedure that can help bring your urinary symptoms under control. Many people self-catheterize and report that it has improved their quality of life. It will allow you to completely empty your bladder at regular intervals, protect your kidneys from infection and damage, lower the risk of distending (i.e., stretching) the bladder, and eliminate the need for wearing a continuously draining catheter.

If you have been told that you need to do intermittent self-catheterization, it is because your bladder does not empty completely, or maybe it doesn't empty at all. A healthcare provider must prescribe the catheter.

Catheters for intermittent catheterization are soft and designed for easy and safe use. They are made from several different materials and have polished eyelets and round, smooth tips for easy insertion. Some are hydrophilic that become slippery when water is applied to the surface of the catheter for ease in insertion. Catheter lengths differ for men versus women because of the relative difference in length of urethras.


One-Piece Male External Urinary Collection Device. The category of external collection devices has evolved with many innovations to include those with collection bags concealed in underwear and those with urine collection bags secured away from the penis. One example of this type of device, the Men’s Liberty™ one-piece male external urinary collection device from BioDerm®, is an all-in-one device that can be concealed with boxers or shorts. It is applied to the tip of the penis, stays on with a skin-friendly hydrocolloid adhesive, has a one way collection pouch designed to collect urine without leakage, and can be attached to a leg bag or bedside bag for additional capacity if needed. It’s also covered by Medicare and most private insurances.  Watch the video, and visit to learn more.


Being told you need to use a catheter can be intimidating, but with a little practice, you'll be able to manage the process in no time. 

For a complete guide on self catheterization, see our videos for both men and women in the NAFC Learning Library.