Urinary Catheter Basics
Catheters are sized by French size (Fr). The French size refers to the diameter of the catheter. Typically sizes range from 5 Fr – 20 Fr. For most catheters, you can tell the French size of the catheter by the color of its funnel end. Your physician will determine which catheter French size is right for you.
Funnels are often attached to catheters for various reasons. As mentioned above, they are often color-coded for easy French size identification. They are useful for better gripping of the catheter without touching the tube itself and directing the urine flow into a receptacle. Funnels are also designed to attach to drain bags, in the case that a urinal or toilet is unavailable.
Catheters don’t always come with funnel ends, however. There is an option called a luer end, which comes just like a regular catheter (same features, same insertion tip) but without the funnel, leaving the end like an open tube.
There are three different lengths available for urinary catheters: male, female, and pediatrics.
- Male length catheters are usually 16 inches in length.
- Female length catheters range from 6-8 inches in length. There are some instances where females prefer to use male-length catheters.
- Pediatric length catheters typically range from 6-12 inches in length. Women and children generally use shorter lengths because of their shorter urethral length.
Catheters can have a straight tip or a coudé tip. The coudé tip or “bent tip” catheter is used when a blockage or stricture is present, making the use of a straight catheter more difficult.
If you have questions about certain urologic catheter products you’ve come to the right place. We specialize in intermittent catheter products so you can feel confident you are speaking with a catheter expert to answer all of your questions.