What is a  urinary catheter?

A urinary catheter is a flexible tube used to empty the bladder and collect urine in a drainage bag.  Urinary catheters are usually inserted by a doctor or nurse.  They can either be inserted through the tube that carries urine out of the bladder (urethral catheter) or through a small opening made in your lower tummy . The catheter usually remains in the bladder, allowing urine to flow through it and into a drainage bag.

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Your health care provider may recommend that you use a catheter if you have:

  • Urinary incontinence (leaking urine or being unable to control when you urinate)
  • Urinary retention (being unable to empty your bladder when you need to)
  • Surgery on the prostate or genitals/
  • Other medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, dementia, or other operations

There are three main types of catheters:

  • indwelling catheters.
  • external catheters.
  • short-term catheters.
  • There are three types of catheter according to materials:

    • Latex Foley catheter silicone coated
    • Silicone Foley catheter
    • PVC nelaton catheter

Indwelling catheters – also called Foley catheters. These are designed to remain in the bladder continuously for longer periods of time.  An indwelling catheter collects urine by attaching to a drainage bag. The bag has a valve that can be opened to allow urine to flow out. Some of these bags can be secured to your leg. This allows you to wear the bag under your clothes. An indwelling catheter may be inserted into the bladder in 2 ways.

We manufacturers usually produce Foley catheters using silicone or coated natural latex. Coatings mostly are silicon elastomer – the different properties of surface coatings determine whether the catheter is suitable for 28-day or 3-month indwelling duration.

Which is better silicone or rubber catheter?

The biggest benefit of using a silicone catheter is that it is non-allergenic and works well for those with sensitive skin. While silicone allergies do exist, they are very rare and far less common than latex allergies.

External catheters are condom-type sheaths applied (usually rolled) over the penis and connected to a drainage bag. They are used primarily for urine collection in men who experience urinary incontinence. The most popular ECs are disposable and must be changed every 24 to 48 hours.

Intermittent catheters – also called Nelaton or “in/out” catheters are inserted into the bladder temporarily to allow it to empty and are then removed.