Everything you must know about urinary catheters

urinary catheters

Urinary catheters are important for those who can’t empty their bladder. If you can’t empty your bladder then the urinary buildup can cause problems in the kidney. It can lead to pressure buildup which can lead to kidney failure and it can be dangerous for your health. Most catheters are used till the time you don’t regain your ability to urinate and it usually lasts for a short time. Older people may require a catheter for a long time depending on their condition. 

What is a catheter? 

A catheter is a hollow and partially flexible tube. This is attached to a bag that collects your urine from the bladder. Catheters are thin tubes made from medical-grade materials that serve a broad range of functions.

Some common reasons for using a catheter include:

  • Resting the bladder after an episode of urinary retention 
  • Resting the bladder after surgery, such as bladder, bowel, or urinary tract surgery 

How can I determine whether I require catheter use?

See your doctor as soon as you notice any odd symptoms. Catheters are prescription-only medical equipment, thus before making a purchase or placing an order with a reputable catheter supply company, you must visit a prescribing physician.

Your physician will make a diagnosis and determine your needs. They will also decide which French size and kind could be ideal for your demands and physique. Additionally, they can provide you with instructions on how to use an intermittent catheter correctly, including how frequently to empty your bladder.

Types of catheters

The main types of catheters are:

Indwelling catheter 

An intermittent catheter and an indwelling catheter are similar, but the latter is left in the body for several days or weeks. An inflatable balloon is fastened to one side of the indwelling catheter. To secure the catheter in place, a medical professional will enter this end into the bladder and then blow air into the balloon using sterile water.

Foley catheter

Since it remains in your bladder rather than being taken in and out multiple times a day, this kind of catheter is also referred to as an indwelling catheter. One end of a little water-filled balloon is kept inside your bladder. The other end empties into a bag that may be hung from a bedside stand. A physician or nurse must change a Foley catheter approximately every three months.

External catheter 

Certain men can choose to use an external catheter. This is an over-the-penis device that resembles a condom. Urine is gathered into a drainage bag by a tube that is connected to the catheter. For male incontinence patients who are not experiencing urinary blockages or delays and are capable of using the catheter on their own, doctors typically prescribe external catheters.

Intermittent self-catheter 

When a patient fails to empty their bladder on their own, a urinary catheter is helpful for them. Urine is typically collected by a drainage bag attached to catheters. Elastic bands are typically used to secure the bag to the leg of ambulatory patients.

Several times a day, the catheter must be inserted and removed during intermittent catheterization.

Ablation catheters

These are among the primary types of catheters that can be utilized to regulate heart rate. An important blood artery leads ablation catheters to the heart. These utilize high-frequency radio waves. This kills cardiac tissue that is causing an arrhythmia in the heart by beating irregularly and functioning incorrectly. These particular catheters are occasionally used to control patients’ heart rates during open cardiac surgery. 

First-time users may experience some slight discomfort while their body adjusts. If you continue experiencing painful cathing or experience any bleeding, you should talk to your doctor before trying any solutions on your own.

How to take care of a catheter?

Your urine bag male might be a little uncomfortable for you but once you get used to it you won’t feel any pain. If it happens, you must talk to your doctor. The majority of people who wear catheters can carry on with their regular lifestyles.

Certain catheters are meant for single use, such as the external variety. Others are made to be reused, such as indwelling catheters. In either case, you should take every precaution to avoid bladder and urethral infections.

Here are some things to consider when living with a urinary catheter:

Security: Make sure the catheter is secured so it doesn’t pull when you walk.

Cleaning: Clean around the catheter 2–4 times a day with soap and water. A nurse can show you how to clean around the catheter.

Leg bags and valves: Change leg bags and valves every 7 days. You can attach the bag to your right or left leg, depending on which side is most comfortable for you.

Catheter supplies: Get advice about getting new catheter supplies.

Complications: Reduce the risk of complications such as infections and spotting signs of potential problems.

Pain: Inserting a catheter can be uncomfortable, so you can use an anesthetic gel on the area to reduce pain. Most people with long-term catheters get used to the discomfort over time.

Side effects of urinary catheter

When using urinary catheters, there are a few factors to be aware of in addition to external and condom catheters.

  • Infection. This is the most frequent issue. Germs from the catheter may enter your body and damage your kidneys, or urinary tract.
  • Leaks. This could indicate that debris or clotted blood has obstructed your catheter. Inform your physician if you notice blood clots in your urine or if you believe something blocks the pee’s flow.
  • Bladder spasms. If your bladder pushes the catheter out, several things can happen.


A urinary catheter is a vital part of equipment for those who have trouble urinating. A person should discuss which of the various varieties offered is most appropriate for their needs with their physician.

An increased risk of urinary tract infections is a common side effect of using any kind of urine bag male. However, a person can lower this risk by washing their hands frequently, taking care of their catheters, and being familiar with how to operate the equipment.

If a person has continuous pain or discomfort related to the catheter, they need to think about consulting a doctor. They can guide how to live a more pleasant life while using a catheter.

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