Types of Catheters You Should Know About

For many, the world of catheters can be a confusing one. Filled with jargon and unfamiliar medical terminology, catheters can seem like another planet altogether. Luckily, once you understand the specifics, catheters truly aren’t that confusing.

This article will divulge three different forms of catheters. These are the indwelling catheter, external catheter, and short-term catheter.

Indwelling Catheter

The first catheter we will explore is the indwelling catheter, also known as the “Foley catheter.” The indwelling catheter is intended to remain inside the body for long periods of time.

Types of Indwelling Catheters

There are two forms of indwelling catheters — the urethral and suprapubic.

  1. Urethral: This medical device is inserted through the urethra and into the bladder.
  2. Suprapubic: Unlike the urethral, the suprapubic is connected to the bladder through the stomach.

Who needs an indwelling catheter?

Indwelling catheters are reserved for those who empty their bladders at inappropriate times or cannot empty their bladders fully. This catheter is also reserved for those who have a condition which affects the nerves that control the bladder. 

Short-term Catheter 

The next medical device we will explore is the short-term catheter. These are also known as “intermittent catheters,” with many in the medical field referring to them as “in-and-out” catheters. This is because this apparatus is for short term usage. Often given to those who have just undergone surgery, the intermittent catheter is there to aid in draining the bladder.

Who needs a short-term catheter?

This catheter may be prescribed for the same reasons as the indwelling catheter. Its temporary status also can be used for those who are post-op. For example, the short-term catheter can be used by those who have recently undergone a surgery on the prostate or the genitals.

External Catheter

While the indwelling catheter resides inside the body, the external catheter is applied from outside the body. This type of medical device is also known as the “condom catheter,” mostly based on its appearance. The device is easily affixed over the head of the penis, and can be changed daily.

Who needs an external catheter?

Unlike the previous two, this catheter is often made exclusively for those who have a penis, though there are a few models fashioned for those with a vagina. While those with urinary incontinence can use indwelling or external catheters, many patients find external catheters to be more user friendly, as it is non-invasive and can be self-administered. 
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