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Urinary catheter

A urinary catheter tube that drains urine from the bladder and gathers it in a hollow, semiflexible form.

There are different shapes and sizes of urinary catheters. 

  • Rubber.
  • Plastic (PVC).
  • Silicone.

Types of urinary catheter

Indwelling catheter

An indwelling catheter sits in the bladder. It is to the left on to ladder through the urethra.

External catheter

The external catheter belongs outside. It is for people who have mental disabilities, such as Dementia. External catheters are generally safe and risk-free of infections.

Short-term catheter

The short-term catheter is used for the shooter period, generally after surgery, to empty bladders.

When is a urinary catheter recommendation provided?

A catheter may be recommended by a doctor if:

  • Unable to regulate when urinating.
  • Urinate uncontrollably.
  • Urinate incontinence.

Reasons constituting urinating complications

One of the following may prevent you from urinating on your own:

  • Obstruction of urine flow because of stones in the kidneys or bladder, urinary blood.
  • Clots, the prostatic gland, have grown significantly.
  • Surgery on the prostate gland. A hip fracture repair or hysterectomy are examples of genital surgery.
  • Loss of bladder nerve function.
  • Damage to the spine.
  • Mental health issues like dementia.

How to take care of a urinary catheter? 

Reasons constituting urinating complications
  • One-time catheters are reusable catheters and must be kept clean.
  • Maintain personal hygiene.
  • Sterilize catheters before insertion.
  • Drain the bag once in 8hrs and whenever it gets full.

Urinary catheter complications 

  • Bladder pain, which may feel like stomach cramps.
  • Blood or other debris getting trapped inside the catheter tube, which may stem from a bloc0kage in the catheter’s drainage system.
  • Catheter leakage, which may happen from a blockage in the system or from pushing during toileting if you’re constipated.
  • Injury to the urethra or bladder (less common).
  • Urethral stones (less common but may be more likely after long-term catheter use).

Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022