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8 Frequently Asked Questions About Catheters

It’s not unusual to have questions about catheters, especially when you’re new to using urinary catheters.

Many people across the world use intermittent urinary catheters every day to drain their bladder. To help you better understand catheters, we’re answering some of the most frequently asked questions about catheters.

Answers to Common Questions About Catheters

1. What is a catheter?

A catheter is a small tube that is placed in your bladder to drain your urine. At 180 Medical, we offer catheters in a wide variety of different types, including:

  • Straight catheters
  • Coudé tip catheters
  • Closed system catheters for no-touch catheterization
  • Hydrophilic catheters
  • Pre-lubricated catheters
  • Travel catheters and pocket catheters for discretion
  • Catheter kits with insertion supplies
  • And more!

Catheter supplies can also come in a variety of materials to suit each individual, such as red rubber latex, PVC vinyl, POBE, and silicone. 180 Medical carries plenty of options, including DEHP-free catheters, latex-free catheters, and even catheters with phthalates like BPA.

You will need to do some experimenting to determine which kind works best. Contact 180 Medical to try out free catheter samples.

Request Free Samples

2. How do catheters work?

Self-catheterization only takes a few minutes and is rather easy. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, and you may use clean disposable gloves if you prefer.

Lubricate the tube with a water-soluble lubricant and carefully insert it into the urethra. Once the tube reaches the bladder, the urine should begin flowing through the catheter naturally.

When it stops flowing, slowly remove the catheter. If it’s your first time, you may want to ask your doctor to show you how to use it. After some practice, it will get easier.

Want more detailed instructions for learning how to catheterize? 180 Medical offers free online instructions at Plus, you can reach out to us to learn more.

3. Why do I need to use catheters?

A urinary intermittent catheter is sometimes necessary if your bladder cannot hold all of your urine or you cannot empty your bladder completely. The catheter helps to drain and empty your bladder.

Many different conditions may lead to the need for self-catheterization, including:

  • Urinary bladder retention
  • Urinary incontinence, such as overflow incontinence
  • Neurogenic bladder
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Enlarged prostate (BPH)
  • Bladder cancer

These are just a few common conditions that may require the use of catheters.

4. How long does it take to empty the bladder with a catheter?

This will ultimately depend on the catheter French size (or diameter)  and how much urine you need to release. Typically, a few seconds to a minute is the average time.

5. How will I know when the catheter is in my bladder?

Typically, once the urinary catheter has entered your bladder, urine should begin to flow out of the catheter, which will continue until your bladder is fully empty.

6. When can I remove my intermittent catheter?

You can remove the intermittent catheter once the flow of urine has stopped.

7. How often should I use a catheter?

This will depend entirely upon your individual health needs. Speak to your prescribing doctor if you’re unsure.

8. Are there complications involved in using a catheter?

You may feel a slight burning sensation after removing the catheter, but this will pass with time and use. The more practice you have in using a catheter, the more comfortable it will become. There may also be an increased risk of Urinary Tract Infections, as well. If you encounter any symptoms of a UTI such as consistent burning in the urethra, feeling an urge to urinate more frequently than usual, fever, or cloudy urine, consult your doctor. You can reduce the risk of UTIs by using your catheter one time only and then throwing it away, instead of reusing it.

Do You Have More Questions About Catheters?

180 Medical trains and staffs dedicated individuals who earn the title of catheter experts. Contact us today to talk about any questions about catheters. Plus, we can help you find just the right catheter for your unique needs.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is intended to provide a general understanding of urinary catheters. It is not medical advice. Do not use this information in place of a consultation with a qualified healthcare professional.

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About the Author
8 Frequently Asked Questions About Catheters
180 Medical is a nationally-accredited provider of intermittent catheters, incontinence supplies, and ostomy products.

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