A catheter is a thin, flexible tube and is used to collect urine by passing or inserting it into the body usually along the tube through which urine passes, commonly known as urethra. It can also be inserted into the body through a hole in the abdomen. A medical procedure that describes the process of draining and collecting urine from the bladder is known as urinary catheterization. These urinary catheters come in various shapes, sizes and types. They can be made of silicone, plastic (PVC) or rubber.
There are three major kinds of catheters, namely, indwelling catheters, external catheters and finally, short term catheters.
- Indwelling catheters: This type of catheter supplies finds its residence in the bladder. It s also called as Foley catheter and is found to be useful for both short and long term purposes. This is usually inserted into the bladder through the urethra or it can also be inserted through a tiny hole in the abdomen. When it is inserted through the abdomen, it is known as a suprapubic catheter supplies. The end of the catheter is equipped with a tiny balloon that can be inflated with water in order to prevent the tube from slipping off.
- External catheters/ condom catheters: This type of catheter is found outside the body. It is found to be useful for men without any problem in urinary retention but suffering with severe mental or functional disabilities like dementia. These are found to be more comfortable and offer lesser risk of infection compared to the indwelling catheters. They are also disposable. Some brands design these catheters to last longer and they cause comparatively lesser irritation that the daily disposable kind.
- Short term catheters: This type of catheter is usually used after a surgery in order to help the emptying of bladder. The removal of this catheter once the bladder is emptied is absolutely required. It is referred to as an in and out catheter by the healthcare providers.