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Types of Catheters 
& Supplies


A urinary catheter is a tube which is inserted into the bladder through the urethra. Catheters are used to drain the bladder if a patient cannot remove urine.  Placement of a catheter can be done by a patient in the case of self catheterization.  One of the main reasons to use a urinary catheter is to provide a patient with drainage because she or he cannot urinate.  The straight catheter is essentially a simple, straight tube threaded through the urethra.


The coudé catheter has a tip that is slightly curved. This is designed to allow it to navigate past obstructions in the urinary tract, such as a swollen prostate in men. Conventional, straight catheters can become blocked, or may expose a patient to risk damage such as tearing if the catheter is forced past an obstruction. The coudé design also allows the device to be inserted for those with narrowed urinary tracts, and comes in a range of sizes so that clinicians can select the most appropriate width.

Hydrophilic vs Lubricant

Hydrophilic or “pre-lubricated” catheters have a special surface that binds water. When activated this makes hydrophilic catheters slippery, which means that the abrasion caused by the catheter on the urethra is minimized. You do not need any additional lubricant when using a hydrophilic catheter.  With the lower friction offered by hydrophilic catheters, anyone feeling pain or discomfort when passing a catheter will usually experience a big difference when using a hydrophilic catheter compared to a conventional catheter, as well as a reduction for risk of urinary tract infections and urethral complications.  There is no additional cost to you to use a hydrophilic catheter.


A Foley catheter is a thin, sterile tube inserted into the bladder to drain urine. Because it can be left in place in the bladder for a period of time, it is also called an indwelling catheter. It is held in place with a balloon at the end, which is filled with sterile water to prevent the catheter from being removed from the bladder. The urine drains through the catheter tube into a bag and can then be taken from an outlet device to be drained. Once the bag is full, the bag must be removed and replaced or emptied.


An external catheter is a device that fits over the penis like a condom and is attached by a tube to a drainage bag used to collect urine leakage. The drainage bag is strapped to the leg. The catheter is used for men who deal with urinary incontinence and prefer not to use diapers or pads. The external catheter is also called a urinary sheath, condom catheter, or penile sheath.


People often find the psychological symptoms of incontinence are worse than the physical ones. The fear of having an "accident," the helpless feeling of not being in control, or the embarrassment of spotting clothing or creating an unpleasant odor tend to keep people who struggle with incontinence from getting out and freely enjoying life.  There is an incredibly broad array of products that vary by day vs. night use, male vs. female fit, different methods of attachment, material thickness and absorbency.  Such products include protective underwear, briefs/diapers, shields, liners, pads, bedpads, wipes, creams and other products.  For almost 35 years we've been using knowledge, sensitivity and discretion to help those who suffer from physically and emotionally trying issues secure the health products they need, without effort and embarrassment.  

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