Many people depend on urinary catheters for daily health needs. People who have trouble eliminating urine on their own need catheters. The catheter is a pliable tube that drains urine from your bladder. It’s important to understand the differences between catheters to know which one is best for you. These are the types of catheters that may fit your needs.
This is a standard type of catheter. It is temporarily inserted into the urethra to reach the bladder. Urine can drain into an external bag or receptacle. You will need to use a new intermittent catheter every time you go to the bathroom.
It is important to remove the intermittent catheter as soon as you finish using it. By removing the catheter in a timely way, you can avoid urinary tract infections and other problems. Your healthcare provider can show you how to insert and remove an intermittent catheter.
There are two types of indwelling catheters. One is the urethral catheter, or Foley catheter. Your healthcare provider will insert this type of catheter through your urethra. Another type is called the suprapubic catheter. Your healthcare provider will insert this catheter beneath your navel. This step requires minor outpatient surgery under anesthesia.
Before the bag fills, you must empty its contents. This is a necessary task to complete every two to four hours. After the bag fills, you must switch out the bag for a clean one at least twice per day. You will need to use a larger collection bag overnight.
For convenience, you can use an indwelling catheter with a valve in place of a bag. First, the bladder fills up while the valve is closed. You can then open the valve into a receptacle to drain the urine.
Males can use external catheters, which fit over the penis similar to a condom. The external catheter collects urine through a tube that empties into a bag. Males who can use a catheter without assistance and have no retention or blockage problems may be eligible for this type of catheter. The advantages to this type of catheter include increased comfort and a lower risk of urinary tract infections.
The Best Type of Catheter for you
Talk with your doctor about the best type of catheter for your needs. Depending on your health, lifestyle and preferences, one or more of these urinary catheters may be right for you. No matter which type of catheter you use, good hygiene is important to prevent other health problems from developing. Since your healthcare provider understands your unique needs, he or she can help you choose the right catheter.
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