A randomized controlled study to compare the 2% lignocaine and aqueous lubricating gels for female urethral catheterization

Moon Fai Chan*, Hong Yun Tan, Xia Lian, Li Yuen Geraldine Ng, Li Ling Emily Ang, Lay Hoon Linda Lim, Wai May Ng, Mui Choo Yvonne Gwendoline Tan, Beverley Joan Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The 2% lignocaine gel has long been used for male urethral catheterization, but aqueous gel as lubricant has been used for females. However, studies report that females experience pain during urethral catheterization. We compared the effectiveness of 2% lignocaine gel (intervention) and aqueous gel (control) for female urethral catheterization in reducing procedural pain. Methods: A double-blinded, randomized controlled trial (RCT) was conducted from November 2011 to April 2012 in an acute care hospital in Singapore. In total, 52 adult female inpatients (26 interventions vs. 26 controls) requiring urethral catheterization were included in the study. The intervention included patients receiving 2% lignocaine gel as a lubricant for urethral catheterization. Patients' pre- and postprocedural visual analog scale (VAS) were collected prospectively and nonparametric tests were used for data analysis. Results: There was a significant reduction from the preprocedure pain score (Median = 22.0 mm) to the postprocedural pain score (Median = 6.6 mm) in the 2% lignocaine group (Z = -3.8, P < 0.001), but not in the aqueous gel group (pre vs. post: 16.5 mm vs. 18.2 mm; Z = -0.36, P = 0.716). Subjects using 2% lignocaine gel had significantly more reduction in the postprocedural pain score than the aqueous gel group (U = 209.5, P = 0.019). Conclusions: The 2% lignocaine gel significantly reduces the procedural pain of female urethral catheterization as compared with aqueous gel. This study provides evidence for the hospital to change the current practice in the hope of reducing procedural pain for female patients during urethral catheterization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-145
Number of pages6
JournalPain Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • 2% lignocaine gel
  • Female urethral catheterization
  • Pain
  • Randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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