Different Types of Catheters and Their Uses

A catheter is a tube-like device made of plastic, latex or medical-grade rubber and is used to empty the bladder. If the muscles of the bladder are too weak to hold urine for any extended period of time, a catheter is used to help the bladder drain. Catheter insertion is performed by placing the catheter into the urethra and allowing urine to drain from the bladder freely and may be attached to an external urine collection bag to store the urine.

There are primarily three types of catheters:
Indwelling or foley catheters
Intermittent catheters
External catheters.

Indwelling or foley catheters are flexible tubes placed into the bladder to drain urine. Patients who require long-term catheterization use them. These are inserted into the bladder and might remain inside for a relatively longer period of time. One use could be after a Prostate Procedure; the catheter helps keep the urethra open during healing. The catheter is anchored in place by a soft, water filled balloon at the tip

Intermittent catheters are the most commonly used catheters. These catheters are best suited for those patients who need to empty their bladder once in a while.

External catheters are male-specific and are worn on the penis like a condom. External catheters are safer than intermittent or foley catheters because they are not placed inside the body. One reason for using a male external catheter is to assist in control of incontinence or for patients that have restricted mobility

A Urinary drainage bag is placed on the outside end of the catheter to collect the urine. A leg bag will be fixed to the leg during the day and a urine collection bag can be placed near the bed for night time use. When the bag gets filed, it is simply changed out or emptied into the toilet. Changing a urine bag is much easier than trying to raise a person off the bed to change their adult diapers. Many caregivers prefer the male external catheter because of this.

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2 Responses to Different Types of Catheters and Their Uses

  1. The article mentions materials like silicone or latex. I think the difference is simply that some people are allergic to latex. I would imagine however, that silicone is more expensive than latex. I would hope that the patient would be allowed a preference based off of what would be more comfortable.

  2. Max and Elsie VINCENT says:

    Female uniary catheter inserted normally causes continuous infection and inflammation.
    Doctor today recommended a surgical procedure enabling a silicon catheter to be inserted and removed by a nurse every couple of weeks or so. This would drain into a discreet bag. The prepared entry point would be in the “tummy” area, in a less likely to be infected spot. We would value your advice greatly.
    There is a genuine need for relief as there is no normal control due to X-ray radiation damage incurred many years ago. The patient is 85 years of age.
    The foley catheter described appears to be the answer, but we would appreciate further detail.

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