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Hydrophilic Catheters

hydrophilic catheters

What is a Hydrophilic Catheter?

A hydrophilic catheter is a step up from standard uncoated catheter technology. This type of urinary catheter features hydrophilic technology, meaning it attracts water molecules. In other words, this technology binds with water to create its own catheter lubrication.

Unlike standard straight catheters, which have to be manually lubricated with separate gel lubrication from a tube or packet, hydrophilic catheters become exceptionally slippery and smooth throughout insertion and withdrawal.

A hydrophilic catheter may be a great solution for people who experience pain during catheterization. Hydrophilic catheter supplies have been shown to lead to better patient satisfaction with this type of technique by reducing the risk of urethral damage due to decreased friction. In addition, this catheter type may also help reduce the risk of infection due to contamination from hands, as they typically include a sleeve or gripper for handling the lubricated catheter.

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Types of Hydrophilic Catheters

As technology continues to advance, hydrophilic catheter options improve and diversify. Depending on the brand, you can choose from several different types.

  • Hydrophilic catheters with water sachets that require activation (typically immediate to 30 seconds of wait time)
  • Pre-hydrated hydrophilic catheter (ready-to-use catheters)
  • Hydrophilic closed system catheters with kits of insertion supplies

Pre-lubricated catheters are another ready-to-use catheter. However, lubricated catheters have a gel coating, so they’re not considered a hydrophilic catheter option.

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How Do Hydrophilic Catheters Work?

Hydrophilic catheters have a layer of a pre-lubricated coating that is bound to the catheter surface. The pre-lubricated coating absorbs and binds water to the hydrophilic catheter, creating a thick, smooth, and slippery surface. The hydrophilic catheter coating layer remains intact upon introduction into the urethra and ensures lubrication of the urethra in its entire length.

Catheters like the unique GentleCath™ Glide feature PVP-free FeelClean Technology™. Unlike coated hydrophilic catheters, GentleCath™ Glide catheters have their hydrophilic properties embedded within the material. This means you get a less sticky, less messy, and more comfortable catheterization from start to finish.

As mentioned above, some hydrophilic catheter options require manual activation of their properties. Most of today’s hydro catheters that require activation include a pouch or sachet of sterile water, which you may need to fold or pop to release the water and activate the hydrophilic properties.

How to Activate a Hydrophilic Catheter

Hand activating hydrophilic catheterThe method for activating a hydrophilic catheter varies from brand to brand. However, most require a simple application of pressure to the included water packet.

To do this, unfold the package, fold the water packet about halfway, and apply pressure with your thumb and forefinger to burst the package and release the solution. Make sure that all of the solution is released from the foil packet and that it has fully coated the catheter. Depending on the brand, allow 15 to 30 seconds to hydrate fully.

Again, several hydrophilic catheter options are available today that come pre-hydrated and ready to use. Talk to our Product Specialists about your product options based on your insurance plan.

How Do I Use a Hydrophilic Catheter?

Using a hydrophilic catheter is fairly simple. Like any other catheter, getting your routine down may take a few tries. Remember, it comes down to the brand of catheter you choose to use. 180 Medical provides a wealth of helpful information for learning how to catheterize with a hydrophilic catheter, including instructional videos for specific brands and types of hydrophilic catheters.

Just select whether you need instructions for men, women, or children. Then select hydrophilic catheters, and you’ll find step-by-step written instructions as well as several how to cath videos from different manufacturers.

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How Do I Know Which Type of Catheter Is Right For Me?

Every person’s needs are different. Whether you’re active and frequently on the go or you need a catheter that’s easy to use at home, we’ve got you covered. 180 Medical has specialized in providing catheter supplies for over 20 years. We offer options from every major manufacturer and catheter brand today, and we can help you find the right catheter for your needs.

Keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for another. Also, your insurance coverage and your prescription will play a major part in your catheter options. For in-depth product guidance or to request samples, reach out to our Product Specialists. We’re ready to help you find the perfect fit for your needs.

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