Intermittent Catheter Types
- - Coude 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 Catheter is a flexible catheter with a straight, rounded tip which has one opening on the side of the catheter tube.
- - Robinson 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.
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 ureter or kidneys.
Intermittent Catheter Sizing
*Always consult your primary care physician when determining your required catheter size.
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. 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)
The 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 catheter, typically 12 to 16 inches.
As shown in the continuum below, men and women commonly share catheter French sizes of 14 to 16. Men trend to the larger diameter sizes while women trend towards small diameters. The 14 French size is the most commonly used size. The sizes are color-coded for easy detection. The funnel end of the catheter is colored to correspond to its size. As mentioned, the most commonly used size is the French 14 which has a green funnel. The chart below the continuum displays the color for each French size.