Intermittent Clean Self Catheterisation (ICSC)- Female

Intermittent Clean Self Catheterisation (ICSC’s) is the insertion of a hollow tube into the urethra, past the external sphincter and into the bladder. There are a number of reasons ICSC’s are performed:

  • To completely empty the bladder at regular intervals through the day
  • To reduce the risk of infections from incomplete emptying
  • To keep you continent or dry
  • To provide relief from urinary retention

Equipment required:

  • 1 Nelaton catheter
  • Wet ones/wipes
  • Lubricant – water soluble (tube or sachets)
  • Antimicrobial hand gel (optional)
  • Bluey or hand towel (optional)
  • Mirror
  • Extension tube (optional)
  • Toilet, container, leg bag (if you are required to measure the amount)


  1. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Set up equipment on towel or bluey and lubricate the tip of your catheter.
  3. Adjust your clothing and position yourself on the toilet.
  4. Position your mirror and ensure you have good visibility.
  5. Using your non dominant hand spread labia apart. The urethra can been seen in the mirror or felt with the middle finger (just below the clitoris and above the vagina).
  6. Using your dominant hand wash the opening of the urethra using a face cloth or wet one in a downward movement. Repeat this to ensure area is cleaned.
  7. Pick up the catheter and pass into the urethra until urine starts to flow (about 6-7 cm).
  8. When urine stops flowing begin to slowly withdraw the catheter and stop if urine drains again. Continue this slow removal until you are out of the bladder. This allows residual urine to drain.
  9. Measure and record amount if you are required to do this.
  10. Wipe urethra and dry.
  11. Dispose of equipment.

Points to note

  • It is important you maintain an adequate fluid intake.
  • If you are catheterizing 4-6 times per day, please ensure your catheterized volumes do not exceed 400-450 mils
  • Dispose of your catheter following each single use.
  • Your catheter size should be 12 or 14FG.
  • There is funding available – please discuss this further with the Practice Nurse.
  • Please see your local doctor if you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

Signs and Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection

  • Offensive/cloudy urine
  • Presence of sediment
  • Pain in suprapubic region
  • Burning/frequency/urgency
  • Presence of blood
  • Fever
North Eastern Urology