Understanding the most common

Catheter Types

Will help get you the comfort you need

Types of catheters

Urinary catheters come in many different forms, but they are all for the purpose of draining urine from the bladder when the body cannot do so naturally. Catheters are normally thin hollow tubes made of plastic, rubber, silicone or latex. Some are either designed to empty urine directly into drainage bags or simply empty urine from the bladder directly into a toilet. Depending on the condition catheters are either designed for temporary short-term use or long-term over a couple weeks or more. The three most common type of urinary catheters are:
  • Intermittent
  • External
  • Indwelling

Intermittent Catheters (Short-term)

Intermittent catheters are some of the most commonly recommended. These catheters can be for patients who have just experienced surgery or are experiencing urinary retention. Intermittent catheters involve inserting the catheter directly into the urethra from a self-lubricated system which helps avoid any possible infections. The three main types of Intermittent Catheters are Straight-Tip, Coude’, and Closed Kit Systems.
Intermittent catheter

External Catheters (Condom Catheters)

External catheters are generally used for those experiencing incontinence or dripping. They are available for both men and women, but more popularly used for men and often referred to as condom catheters. For men they are slipped over the head of the penis and women inserted directly into the urethra. Both are emptied into external drainage bags held to the user’s body by either adhesive or a wrap.

External catheters need to be custom fitted for both male and female types. These catheters are designed to be daily use, and also made to be easily self-applied by the user. One benefit over Intermittent catheters is that External catheters are less prone to infection.

External condom catheter

Indwelling Catheters (Foley & Suprapubic)

Indwelling catheters are inserted into the bladder and are left in for short to long-term periods depending on the situation. Indwelling catheters are either for incontinence or retention. Urinary Incontinence refers to having no control over your bladder. Urinary retention is where your bladder empties, but not completely – in other words your bladder still retains urine.

The two most common types of Indwelling catheters are Foley and Suprapubic. Foley catheters involve inserting the catheter through the Urethra where it is held in place by a small inflated balloon. Suprapubic catheters are inserted directly into the bladder through a small opening in the lower area of the stomach. Both catheters empty the urine externally into a drainage bag.

Foley catheter with balloon

Still not sure which Catheter to choose? Our application will walk you through step-by-step to help find the Catheter best suited for you!