Urinary Catheters

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Urinary catheters are designed for men and women that have difficulty urinating on their own, or that suffer severe incontinence. Catheters are not a cure for these conditions, but tools to manage them. Catheters are available for purchase in drugstores, pharmacies and online, but do require doctor prescriptions.

Urinary Catheter Designs and Intentions

A standard catheter is a thin hollow tube that is inserted into the bladder via the urethra to force the release of urine. Urine is collected into a separate bag typically attached at the leg. Because of obvious anatomical differences, there are urinary catheters designed specifically for men and women.

In-dwelling Foley catheters are catheters that remain in place continuously. Standard catheters are designed for intermittent self catheterization. Condom catheters, sometimes called Texas catheters, are special condoms that are attached to urinary catheters. The condom provides two jobs: keeps the urinary catheter in place and collects the urine released by the catheter. The latter two varieties are easily and discreetly purchased online.

In terms of discomfort, in-dwelling urinary catheters can be uncomfortable both during application and as long as the catheter is in place. Standard catheters may be uncomfortable during the procedure, but relief is quick after their removal.

Though all varieties of urinary catheters are effective, many patients, both men and women, find catheters uncomfortable and may want to discontinue treatment. Prolonged use of self-catheters may lead to urinary tract problems, irritation of the penis or vagina, and damage to the urethra.

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