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What are Urinary Catheters?

A urinary catheter is a hollow, partly flexible tube that collects urine from the bladder, and is connected to a drainage bag, which is later emptied out. There are many types of urinary catheters which are generally made of rubber, plastic or silicone

When and what is a catheter used for?

A catheter comes in handy when you can’t empty out your bladder on your own for various reasons. When you are unable to empty your bladder, the urine builds up. This causes a lot of pressure in your kidneys, and if it continues for too long you could even suffer kidney failure causing permanent damage.

Why Do People Need Catheters?

Catheters might be a necessity for you until you regain the ability to urinate on your own, which is usually not too long. Catheters are popular among older adults or those who have suffered a permanent injury or severe illness due to which they need it for a longer amount of time or sometimes even permanently.

Why are catheters used?

You might be recommended to use a urinary catheter by your doctor in the following conditions:

  • You cannot control when you urinate.

  • You suffer from urinary incontinence, or urine leakage in simpler terms.

  • You suffer from urinary retention, meaning you are unable to empty your bladder either partially or completely.

How to Use a Urinary Catheter?

How a catheter is used sometimes depends on the purpose of catheter and the kind of urinary catheter being used. Some of them include the following:

Indwelling catheters

These types of catheters are inserted inside your body.

  • An indwelling urethral catheter is a catheter inserted inside the bladder through the urethra. It is popularly known as a Foley catheter. You can use this type of catheter for short or long periods of time.

  • A suprapubic catheter is inserted into the bladder through a tiny hole in the abdomen.

A tiny balloon at the end of the catheter is filled with water to prevent the tube from sliding out of the body and to also indicate when it needs to be emptied out. Indwelling catheters have a really high chance of infections and are generally very painful for the patients.

External catheters

External catheters, also called condom catheters, are catheters placed outside the body. It is used by people who have a penis but do not suffer from urinary retention, but might unconsciously leak urine. Patients with dementia might require this type of catheter.

This device looks like a condom and covers the head part of the penis. A tube leads from it to a drainage bag. These catheters are slightly more comfortable and have lower risks of infection and are not meant to be used as a catheter for women in any way.

This needs to be changed daily. But some brands make condom catheters for slightly longer use

Short-term catheters (intermittent catheters)

Do you need a catheter for surgery? Yes, and this is when intermittent or short- term catheters come in use.

In the medical world, these are referred to as in-and-out catheters, because as soon as the bladder empties itself the catheter is removed.

This type of catheter, if used at home can be inserted with the help of a caretaker. It can be put in through the urethra or through the hole created for catheterization in the lower abdomen.

Risks of Urinary Catheters

Not all side effects from urinary catheter use are completely avoidable. However, you can significantly reduce your risks by taking certain dietary and hygiene steps. Try to reduce blockages in the catheter’s drainage system. Here are a few risk factors related to urinary catheter uses:

  • Catheter displacement – Twists or bends in the catheter or even the bag that collects urine might lead to blocks or leaks.

  • Hygiene – It becomes a little difficult to clean the equipment and maintain skin hygiene with the use of catheters. You might want to consider asking for additional assistance.

  • UTIs - The biggest risk of using a urinary catheter is that it can sometimes allow bacteria to enter your body. This can cause an infection in the urethra, bladder or, less commonly and more dangerous, in the kidneys. These types of infection are called urinary tract infections (UTIs). If you experience these symptoms while using catheters, chances are you might have contracted a UTI:

    • Burning sensation while peeing

    • Cloudy urine or blood in your urine

    • Fever and chills

    • Strong smelling urine

    • Feeling a frequent urge to urinate

We would recommend avoiding the use of urinary catheters altogether, if you can help it. Not just because they are really painful to insert and remove, but also because you don’t want to risk catching an infection. You can opt for diapers instead. Friends makes India’s No. 1 Adult Diaper. We are pioneers of adult diapers in India and have over 20 years of experience in making the best absorbency products. Opt for Friends Adult Diapers because:

  • Using Friends Adult Diapers is completely pain-free.

  • They have an anti-bacterial layer to prevent infections and the spread of bacteria.

  • They absorb urine at lightning-fast speeds.

  • They can take the urine flow for up to 16 hours depending on the variant

  • They fit you snugly to prevent leaks or spills.

With Friends Adult Diapers, Azadi Mubarak from urine leakage and painful urinary catheters!