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Practical Procedures
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Urinary catheterization – female


  • Urinary catheters – male or female length, sizes 12–16
  • Catheter dressing pack
  • Sterile gloves
  • Lidocaine gel
  • 10 ml saline in a syringe
  • Urometer or urine collection bag
  • Saline for cleaning
  • Kidney bowl

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If you are asked to do this, it is usually because the nursing staff are having difficulty, which means that you too are likely to have difficulty.

  • Tell the patient what you are going to do.
  • Ensure that the perineum is well lit.
  • Abduct the legs as far as possible.
  • Ask an assistant to hold folds of abdominal fat out of the way if necessary.
  • Look carefully to distinguish the urethral orifice from the vagina (Fig. 5).
  • If in doubt as to the position of the catheter (i.e., if no urine flows), flush and withdraw 50 ml of saline.

Fig. 5 Female catheterization.

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