Different Types of Catheters and Their Uses

Learn what the three types of catheters are and how they are used.

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.

Share this: