Catheters 101: What You Need to Know
Urinary catheters are medical devices that are used to help drain urine from the bladder. There are different types of urinary catheters available, each with its unique features and applications suited to your individual healthcare needs. The main types of catheters are the Foley Catheter, the Intermittent Catheter, and the Coude Catheter.
Foley catheters, for example, are typically made of silicone or latex, but there are a few different types that mainly differ in material, such as Coated Foley Catheters that use Teflon or silver.
Foley catheters are inserted through the urethra and into the bladder.
When it comes to the Foley Catheter or “Indwelling Catheter,” the main use is when there is a long-term health complication such as prostate hypertrophy, prostate cancer, or a narrowing of the urethra that makes it difficult to urinate.
There are two types of Foley Catheters; the three-way Foley Catheter and the standard Foley Catheter that’s two-way. The two-way dedicates one way to urination, and the other to injecting medication. The three-way, however, has a third way for flushing water into the catheter.
Intermittent catheters are usually made of polyurethane or PVC. The material used can affect the flexibility and durability of the catheter. There is also the Red Rubber Catheter, which operates the same way as Intermittent Catheters but is made of thin rubber latex for those who prefer that over plastic.
Intermittent catheters are inserted directly into the bladder through a small incision in the skin.
With Intermittent Catheters, the use consists of insertion into the bladder, but it’s removed when the bladder is empty. Its main use is when you have urinary retention, which is when you have difficulty emptying your bladder on your own.
The Coude Catheter is made of 100% silicone, but typically has a slightly bent tip rather than a straight tip.
Coude Catheters are inserted through the urethra, but the bent tip is made to avoid any type of blockages in the way.
Urinary catheters vary in size, with larger catheters being used for individuals with conditions such as an enlarged prostate. Additionally, there are specialized catheters designed for specific conditions, such as those with hydrophilic coatings to reduce friction during insertion or those with antimicrobial properties to reduce the risk of infection.
Overall, the Intermittent Catheter, Foley Catheter, and Coude Catheter are great options depending on your condition and the final choice should be determined to fit your specific needs. It’s always important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate catheter for each case.