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Intermittent Catheters

Intermittent Catheters are inserted internally and used for several Indications, such as short term urinary drainage from the bladder for patients with urinary incontinence, urinary retention, or patients with a bladder obstruction. We carry a variety of Intermittent Catheter Types, such as a Coude Intermittent Catheter or Straight Intermittent Catheters, in a range of Intermittent Catheter Sizes from top manufacturers like Dover, Kendall, Bard, Astra Tech, Rusch, and Mentor.

Intermittent Catheter Types

  • - Coude Intermittent Catheters are flexible catheters with a bend or elbow curvature to facilitate navigation of the uretha in men. Coude Catheters are also used in women with urethral blockage or narrowing. Coude tip catheters are often used when a straight catheter is unsuitable.
  • - Straight Intermittent Catheter is a flexible catheter with a straight, rounded tip which has one opening on the side of the catheter tube.
  • - Robinson Intermittent Catheter is a straight tipped catheter with two to six holes on the catheter tube to allow increased urine drainage. Robinson Catheters are used for both male and female patients. This catheter is particularly useful for patients who have blood clots that may obstruct a catheter opening.

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Intermittent Catheter Indications

There are many conditions where patients suffer from bladder emptying issues and may require Intermittent Catheterization, they may include but are not limited to:

  • Urinary Incontinence - involuntary urinary leakage often receives this blanket diagnosis when incontinence typically results from an underlying medical condition.
  • Urethral Stricture - inflammation, scar tissue, disease or pelvic injury can cause the tube which carries urine away from the bladder to narrow.
  • Neurogenic Bladder - disruption and dysfunction of the urinary bladder from disease of the central nervous system or peripheral nerves which control urination.
  • Vesicoureteral Reflux - when the flow of urine is reversed from the bladder into the kidneys or ureters.

Intermittent Catheter Sizing

*Always consult your primary care physician when determining your required intermittent catheter size.

Catheter Diameters
Correct catheter diameter should be large enough to allow the free flow of urine but small enough so as not to cause damage to the urethra. Intermittent Catheters use the French catheter scale to determine diameter sizes. The French catheter scale starts at 3 F (1mm) and goes up to 34 F (11.3mm), with the most common sizes being 10 F (3.3mm) to 28 F (9.3mm)

Catheter Lengths
Intermittent Catheter length will vary for men and women. Women will require a shorter catheter, generally around 6 inches as their urethral length is shorter. Men have a longer urethra and will require a longer intermittent catheter, typically 12 to 16 inches.


Risks in Using an Intermittent Catheter

Proper technique is imperative to successful intermittent catheterization. Trauma to the urethra and/or the bladder can result from improper catheter insertion. Repeated trauma can cause inflammation, scarring or urethral stricture. Improper hygiene can introduce bacteria in to the bladder and the urethra which can result in a urinary tract infection.

Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

All Intermittent Catheters are sterile when they are first opened and as they are not a long term indwelling catheters, the risk of a catheter related urinary tract infection is low. That isn't to say there is zero risk. Depending on the recommendation and advice of a doctor, some patients may reuse their intermittent catheters which can increase the chances of contracting a UTI. Regardless if an Intermittent Catheter is being reused or not, there are several preventative steps one can take to greatly reduce the risk of urinary tract infection.

  1. - Ensure the area around your urethra is cleaned with an antiseptic agent before catheterization
  2. - If a drainage bag is being used, always keep it lower than your bladder to make sure urine doesn't backflow into your bladder.
  3. - Empty the drainage bag when at least every 8 hours, or if it is full.
  4. - Wash your hands before and after Intermittent Catheterization.
  5. - If you're reusing your intermittent catheter, clean the catheter with soap and water before it is reinserted. It is not uncommon to submerge intermittent catheters in boiling water or use a disinfectant solution as well.