Understanding Catheter Sizing

an array of catheter funnel colors

Catheter sizing is important because not all intermittent catheters will work for everyone. Our bodies are unique, and our needs differ, so determining the correct catheter size is an essential part of comfortable catheterization. Ultimately, your doctor will help you find the best fit for you based on your unique needs. We will go over some information that will hopefully help you better understand catheter sizing.

Catheter Length

Intermittent catheters come in various lengths based on the anatomies of the body. The catheter must be long enough to reach the bladder to provide complete emptying. The male urethra is longer than the female urethra, therefore requiring a longer catheter.

The common intermittent catheter lengths are:

Catheter Diameter

Cure Hydrophilic coude catheter with green funnelIn catheter sizing, a universal gauge system is used that measures the catheter tube diameter, referred to as a “French size” (Fr). The diameter is taken in millimeters and then multiplied by 3 to result in the French size. For example, if a catheter’s diameter is 5.4 millimeters, the French size is 16.

Catheter Funnel Color

The color of the catheter’s funnel is a unique feature that helps determine its French size. This universal color-coding system that’s a part of catheter sizing allows you to look at the funnel color to ensure you are using the proper prescribed French size.

An important note and an exception to this color-coding system are that red rubber latex catheters and Luer end catheters such as the Cure Female Luer End Catheter do not use the color-coding system to represent catheter sizing.

catheter funnel color reference chart

Why Catheter Sizing Matters

Making sure you get the correct catheter size will determine how comfortable and efficient your catheterization experience is. Your doctor will play an essential role in this process and help make sure you are getting the right size catheter for your needs.

If your catheter is too short, it will not reach the bladder to drain urine flow sufficiently. If the French size is not wide enough, urine can flow around the tube, causing leakage.

The biggest problem experienced by using a catheter that is too long or wide is pain. Trying to insert a catheter that is slightly larger than the diameter of your urethra will not only be painful but can also be damaging to the tissue.

When your health issues call for the need to catheterize, your doctor will make sure you are fitted for the right size catheter. Getting the right size catheter will help to ensure your catheterization experience is comfortable and efficient.

At Personally Delivered, we carry thousands of catheters in all French sizes and lengths. All catheters require a prescription before purchasing. If you have that, we can help you get the right catheter for your needs discreetly delivered right to your door. If you need help finding the right catheter, our Product Experts are ready and available.

Catheter-Related Articles

man and woman looking out window embracing each other
elderly woman speaking to her doctor with a very concerned look on her face
Foley Catheters - What they are, why they are used, and where to purchase.
Personally Delivered home horizontal logo