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Urethral Catheter Basics

Urethral Catheter
First, you should know what a urethral catheter is and why it’s sometimes necessary for certain people. A catheter is a small tube that drains urine from the bladder. You insert the catheter tube into your urethra to reach the bladder. Using an intermittent catheter at scheduled times throughout the day is called intermittent catheterization. This is primarily necessary when the bladder cannot empty fully on its own.

Urethral Catheter Sizes

How are catheters sized? French (Fr) size refers to the diameter of the catheter. Sizes can range anywhere from pediatric sizes to larger diameter sizes for unique adult anatomies (5 Fr to 24 Fr, most commonly).

How do you know what size your catheters should be? Your prescribing physician will help you determine which catheter French size may work best for your anatomy and needs.

Catheter Funnels

The majority of intermittent catheters feature funnel ends, which are also known as connectors. These funnel ends are often color-coded as an easy way to identify your catheter’s French size every time.

In addition, catheter funnels are useful for easier gripping without touching the catheter tube itself. This reduces the risk of contamination from your hands. Catheter-users direct the urine flow toward a receptacle such as a toilet or a urinal. However, many users also prefer to use the funnel as a connector and attach it to a drain bag.

Catheters don’t always come with funnel ends, however. Options like luer end catheters offer the same great features without a funnel. The end is an open tube.
Catheter Funnel Colors

Catheter Lengths

While some catheter brands offer some variation, you can typically count on 3 lengths in urinary catheters.

  • Male length catheters are usually at least 16 inches in length.
  • Female length catheters range from 6-8 inches in length. Women may prefer to use male length catheters if they like a longer catheter type.
  • Pediatric length catheters typically range from 10-12 inches in length. Women and children generally use shorter catheters because of their shorter urethral length.

Catheter Insertion Tips

Catheters can have a straight insertion tip or a coudé tip. While the straight tip catheter is most common, some people need to use a coudé tip. Coudé tip catheters have a slight curve that may aid passage through urethras that have an obstruction or a stricture.

Catheter Tips

Where to Buy Intermittent Urethral Catheters

If you have questions about certain urologic catheter products, you’ve come to the right place. 180 Medical specializes in intermittent urinary catheter products. Contact us today to speak with one of our friendly Catheter Specialists about your catheter options.

Disclaimer: This information is not medical advice and is only for informational purposes. Always consult with your prescribing healthcare practitioner about any medical advice you may need. In addition, your doctor can help you determine what size and type of catheter is right for your unique needs.
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