Catheters are recommended by a doctor for various reasons such as urinary incontinence, urinary retention, prostate surgery, and medical conditions like Spina Bifida, Multiple Sclerosis, or dementia, to name a few. A urinary catheter is a tube used to drain urine from the bladder when a person is unable to empty their bladder on their own.
There are three main types of urinary catheters.
Intermittent catheters are inserted into the urethra to drain urine from the bladder. These types of catheters are used throughout the day and single-use. Intermittent catheters can be straight or feature a coude tip that is slightly bent to help navigate through strictures in the urethra. These catheters are made of various materials like silicone, latex, red rubber, plastic, or PVC. There are hydrophilic-coated, pre-lubricated, and uncoated intermittent catheter options. Intermittent catheters come in male, female, and pediatric lengths and feature drainage eyelets for efficient urine flow.
Indwelling or Foley catheter
Foley catheters remain in the bladder for extended periods. These catheters feature a balloon that is inflated by sterile saline water after insertion to keep the Foley catheter from sliding out of the bladder. The balloon is then deflated when the catheter is ready to be removed. A urinary drainage bag is connected to the Foley catheter to collect urine. Many drainage bags can be secured to the leg, allowing them to be worn discreetly under clothing.
External or condom catheter
External catheters can also be called condom catheters or Texas catheters. Unlike the intermittent catheters and Foley catheters, these types of catheters do not enter the urethra. An external catheter is placed over the penis. A drainage bag is connected by a tube to collect urine. External catheters are worn for longer periods but should be changed daily.
To learn more about the different types of catheters, take a look at our An Introduction to Foley Catheters, External Catheters for Men and Women, and Understanding Catheter Sizing blog posts. Be sure to check back to the blog often, as we are adding new information and resources all the time.
Browse our wide variety of catheter products and catheter supplies to find the options right for you. We carry hydrophilic catheters, pocket and compact catheters, Foley catheters, external catheters, urinary drainage supplies, and so much more. If you need any help finding the catheters or catheter supplies you need, our Catheter Product Experts are here to help.