Choosing the Right Catheter

Choosing the Right Catheter

By Ayush Henry

The main use of catheter is to remove fluids from bladder. They are specifically used when the patients cannot urinate by themselves. Catheters are generally used if there is injury to bladder or urethra and for people suffering from urinary incontinence. The use of catheter is not limited to these symptoms. Catheters can also be used in cases such as radiation therapy, blockages, prostate cancer surgery and prostate enlargement. Depending upon the need and symptoms it is best to choose the catheter that is most suitable.

Intermittent catheters

Choosing the Right Catheter

Intermittent catheters are the short term catheters that are used only when bladder needs to be emptied. The continuous use of urinary bags is not required.  Intermittent catheters allow for free and more active lifestyle as it is used only at the time when required. In most of the cases this catheter is recommended. The sterile catheter is normally inserted via urethra into the bladder. Intermittent catheters are usually pre-lubricated that reduces the discomfort or damage while inserting it. Catheter can be removed when the flow stops. Use a new catheter each time it is inserted. Never reuse it.

Indwelling catheters

Choosing the Right Catheter

Indwelling catheters or Foley catheters are inserted in the same way as intermittent catheters but they are left attached for extended duration of time. These catheters are usually inserted and removed by the healthcare professional instead of the user. Indwelling catheters have a water balloon on one of the ends that goes in the bladder. This balloon structure prevents the catheter from falling out. It can be inserted either through urethra or through a small hole in abdomen. Indwelling catheters are often fitted with a valve that is used to control the flow of urine. The valve can be opened to initiate the flow into toilet and closed while the process finishes. Indwelling catheters need to be changed atleast every 3 months, as longer duration increases the chances of infection.

External Catheters

Choosing the Right Catheter

External catheters or condom catheters are placed outside the body, unlike other catheters which are inserted into urethra. The catheters are typically manufactured for men that wraps around the penis. External catheter connects to the tube that is connected to urinary drainage bag. As compared to other catheters, external catheters carry lower risk of infection. It is also convenient to many people who don’t want the hustle of interesting it and taking it out. External catheters must be changed on daily basis.

According to shape and material used there are several types of catheter available like Silicone Catheters, Round Tip Catheter, Hydrophilic Catheter and many more. Do consult the healthcare professional for the insertion instructions and proper usage.