If your doctor has suggested catheterization, there are many options available, including urinary accessories. To make the choices clear, read below for our guide to catheters and urinary accessories.
Types of Catheters
You can find several different types of catheters. Your doctor or another member of your healthcare team might recommend a specific type of catheter that works best for you:
Intermittent Urinary Catheters: Many healthcare professionals and patients favor these catheters because they only insert them long enough to drain the bladder. This is very convenient because you are not stuck with carrying around a urinary bag. However, using an intermittent catheter means that you’ll have to learn to self-catheterize.
Your healthcare team will teach you how to safely and correctly insert and remove the catheter. Make sure to ask questions during training, because you will insert and remove the catheter several times per day. You will need a new catheter each time and want to be clear on exactly what you need to do.
Indwelling Urinary Catheters: Some people also call indwelling catheters Foley catheters. This type of catheter stays in place once you insert it. The catheter drains your urine throughout the day and collects it in a bag. Some people have the bag on a stand, while others have it attached to their legs for better mobility.
You can also find indwelling catheters with a valve that you can open to drain urine into the toilet at your convenience. You then close the valve and allow the bladder to fill up with urine until your next bathroom trip.
You will need to change your indwelling catheter every three months or sooner if recommended by a healthcare professional.
Suprapubic Catheters: Your doctor will need to insert a suprapubic catheter into a hole in your abdomen rather than through your urethra. You will need some form of anesthesia for this procedure.
Your doctor might recommend a suprapubic catheter for several reasons, including a blocked or damaged urethra or if you cannot use an intermittent catheter. After inserting the catheter, your doctor will secure it in place.
You can attach this type of catheter to a bag for urine collection. Or, you can have a valve that you open for drainage into the toilet.
Your doctor will tell you when to return to change the catheter. Depending on your unique situation, this might be every four weeks or as long as every twelve weeks.
Once you and your doctor have settled on a method for catheterization, you will likely need some accessories. These include:
- Tube holders for suprapubic catheters
- Leg straps and sterilebags if you’re using a non-training indwelling catheter
- Nighttime catheter bags
- Catheter tips for intermittent urinary catheters. Since you need a new one each time, you should be sure to have plenty on hand
- Catheter securement devices that comfortably secure the catheter
- Urine bag holders if you plan on using a urine bag
- Drain tube attachments and holds to make drainage of your catheter easier