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Figuring Out French Sizes: Urinary Catheter Sizes

Figuring Out French Sizes: Urinary Catheter Sizes

Determining the right size of an intermittent catheter to use can greatly increase the efficiency and comfort of your self-catheterization routine. But how do you know what size catheter to use? Take a look at our guide to figuring out French sizes for urinary catheters.

Catheter Sizing: French Sizes

All internal urinary catheters, including Foley catheters and intermittent catheters, are sized by a universal gauge system. This gauge system is known as a French size, which is based upon a measurement of the external diameter of the catheter tube.

How to Determine Catheter French Sizes

The French size of a catheter is determined by a simple multiplication of 3 (diameters in millimeters multiplied by 3 = the French size). For example, if a catheter has a diameter of 4.7 millimeters, then the French (Fr) size is 14.

Catheter Funnel Colors

Most vinyl and silicone intermittent catheters with funnels use a universal color-coding system to help you determine what French size a catheter is. See the below chart for the most common French sizes along with their corresponding funnel color codes.

Catheter Funnel Colors for French Size Determination

Getting the Right Catheter French Size

Why is determining the French size such an important part of selecting the right catheter for your needs? Efficiency and comfort are both important elements in the self-catheterization process. If you use a urinary catheter with too large of a diameter for your urethra, insertion can feel difficult or cause friction. Catheterization may even feel painful if you’re using a catheter that’s too big. Also, if it’s far too large, you will not be able to insert it at all.

Catheter Supplies

On the other hand, if you use a French size that is too small, you may find the pace of urine drainage is very slow. In addition, if you use a catheter French size that’s much smaller than your urethra, urine may escape around the catheter tube. This can be messy, and it’ll be harder to control the flow.

Luckily, catheters are made in a vast range of French sizes to suit all kinds of bodies. Urinary catheters come in a wide range of sizes from pediatric French sizes for children to large French sizes for adults.

Finding the Right Catheter Length

In addition to French sizes, catheters come in different lengths. This feature accommodates the different urethral lengths between genders and ages.

Pediatric Length Catheters

Pediatric length catheters are typically around 10 inches long.

The smallest pediatric catheter French sizes (5 or 6 French) are typically for babies and infants. Children and adolescents typically use pediatric catheters between 8 to 12 French.

Here are just a few of the many pediatric catheters for babies and children that we offer at 180 Medical.

Female Length Catheters

Because the female urethra is much shorter than the average male urethra, Because of this, female length catheters are much more compact than standard unisex or male length catheters. Female catheter lengths can range anywhere from as short as 3.5 inches up to 8 inches. However, female catheters are typically around 6 inches on average.

While every anatomy is different, most adult women use female catheters with French sizes that range from around 12 to 16 Fr.

180 Medical offers one of the widest varieties of catheter supplies on the market today. Here are just a few of the many female catheters we can provide.

Male Length or Unisex Length Catheters

Male length catheters, which are also known as unisex length catheters for any gender, offer an average catheter length of around 16 inches.

Keep in mind that every person is different, and no one size or length will suit everyone across the board. However, many adult men use male length catheters with French sizes that range as small as 12 French and as large as 24 French. The average or most common French size tends to be around 14 to 18 French for most male catheter-users.

We have male length catheters available in all types and sizes from all the available brands on the market, including male pocket catheters. Take a look at a few popular catheters below from our online showcase.

Urinary Catheters by French Sizes

Click on the links below to see all of the various catheters available in each catheter size:

How to Find the Right Catheter and French Size for You

To determine the right French size of the catheter for your unique anatomy, you’ll need to consult with your prescribing healthcare professional. They can accurately determine the right French size for your body so you can get a hassle-free, comfortable experience when using your intermittent catheters.

Next, you’ll be ready to get your catheter supplies from 180 Medical!

Did you know that many health insurance plans including Medicare will cover sterile use catheters? We can verify your insurance coverage to let you know how your policy will cover your catheter needs. Plus, 180 Medical provides discreet, free delivery of your orders, and we always follow up to make sure you’re fully satisfied with your order.

Ready to get started? Contact 180 Medical today! Our friendly Catheter Specialists will be happy to find the right catheter for your needs.
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About the Author
Jessica is the Sr. Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical, where she's worked for 12 years. She loves seeing the positive impact we make on our customers' lives through our values of compassion and education.

Outside of work, you can find her at her favorite local coffee shop, hanging out at home with her husband and their dogs, or browsing garden centers, where she will almost certainly buy another plant she doesn't really need.