Urinary Catheters

These days, many hospitals and care giving facilities purchase urinary catheters from online medical supply stores. Here, we discuss some of the more common types of urinary catheters you can buy from these online shops.

Intermittent urinary catheter: This is the most frequently used urinary catheter type. It's called intermittent as it needs to be inserted multiple times a day for draining the user's bladder. It gets removed once its job is done. Generally the nurse or prescribing doctor will offer instructions on using an intermittent catheter for the first time. It is a good idea for a caregiver or family member to learn the process as well.

The sterile catheter is usually pre-lubricated to ensure that the process of insertion doesn't cause any pain or discomfort. One end of the unit gets inserted into the user's bladder via his or her urethra; the device is then guided through the urethra until urine starts flowing. The catheter is removed the moment the flow stops.

For patients, who can move around freely, the other end of the catheter can be left open for allowing draining into the toilet. For disabled patients, that end should ideally be attached to a bag designed for collecting urine.

Indwelling urinary catheter: The process of inserting this device is same as that of the intermittent catheter. The main difference between the two is that the indwelling unit is not taken out once the urine flow stops. A balloon filled with water is used for hold the catheter in place.

The open end of this device is attached to a bag. Depending on the patient's choice, the bag can either be attached to a floor stand or strapped across the inside of his or her leg. All indwelling catheters are not free-draining; they often come equipped with a small valve. As a user, you will need to open the valve for allowing the urine drain into the toilet. The valve is closed for until the user's bladder is filled with urine and drainage becomes convenient. The majority of indwelling catheters are meant for being used for a period of not more than three months; in other words, old indwelling units must be replaced with new ones after every three months.

Suprapubic catheter: This is also a type of indwelling catheter, but the process of inserting it is different. Instead of being inserted via the urethra, this catheter is inserted via a hole in the patient's abdomen. The catheter reaches the bladder through this hole. The procedure requires use of epidural anesthesia, general anesthesia or local anesthesia.