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.
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.