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Types of Intermittent Catheters: How To Choose The Right One?

Types of Intermittent Catheters: How To Choose The Right One?
Taikhum Sadiq

Urinary catheters are flexible tubes used to empty the bladder and collect urine in a drainage bag. They are either inserted into the bladder or surgically placed in the lower abdomen to allow the urine to flow into a drainage bag. There are various types of catheters available. One such type is an intermittent catheter.

What are intermittent catheters?

An intermittent catheter is usually used after surgery when conventional urination is obstructed. Once the bladder is emptied, it is removed and washed properly.

Intermittent catheterization is repeated several times a day. It reduces the risk of CAUTI and other hospital-acquired infections, prevents discomfort, and allows for more freedom of movement. Usually, these are administered by a caregiver post-surgery. However, intermittent catheters also allow for pain-free self-cathing.

When does one need to use an intermittent catheter?

Some disorders and ailments may result in a person losing their ability to empty the bladder the normal way, for instance -

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Urinary retention
  • Incontinence
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Male infertility

Types of intermittent catheters

There are different types of intermittent catheters:

1. Uncoated catheters

Uncoated intermittent catheters are made of PVC, silicone or natural rubber for single use. Those with latex allergies should avoid this type of catheter.

2. Coated catheters

They are available in two versions: hydrophobic and antibiotic. The hydrophobic ones become slippery when wet, thus making it easier to insert, whereas the antibiotic catheters have an antibacterial coating and are mostly hydrophilic.

3. Coude tip catheters

The tip is shaped like an elbow and is recommended for people with an enlarged prostate. The curved tips make it easier for a person to reach hard-to-reach places.

4. Olive tip catheters

An olive tip catheter has a bulb at the curve to negotiate the curve of an enlarged prostate, false passages, or obstructions to the bladder.

5. Tiemann tip coude catheter

The shape of this catheter is the same as a coude tip one, with the only difference being that it is thinner and more flexible, thus reducing pain while passing through orifices. It has an elongated, tapered tip, which makes catheterization comfortable.

6. Closed-System Catheters

These are convenient catheter kits with pre-lubricated catheter tips. It allows catheterization without having to find a toilet, separate bag, or container. A closed-system catheter is a viable option for wheelchair users.

Choosing the right-sized catheter

A right-sized catheter is integral to pain-free catheterization. A catheter too long can pose a challenge to handle, while too short catheters are ineffective in emptying the bladder.

Catheter sizing depends largely on gender. Catheter lengths are classified into three main groups -

  • Male
  • Female
  • Pediatric

Female catheters are shorter than the male catheters. That is because women generally have a shorter urethra than men. Hence, a female catheter is anywhere between 6-8 inches, while a pediatric catheter can be 10 -12 inches long.

Subsequently, the male catheter lengths are often around 16 inches or more. It is best to consult with your urologist to find the right catheter size.

Taking care of the catheter

A reusable intermittent catheter requires proper cleaning and hygiene practices to keep infections at bay. Here's how you can keep your catheter clean:

  1. Wash the catheter with a mild soap and water and immerse it in an antiseptic solution
  2. Alternatively, you can use a syringe to inject soapy water through it
  3. Rinse the catheter well with water
  4. Keep the catheter folded in a towel to dry it
  5. Once dry, place the catheter in a clean bag

Intermittent catheters are one of the most used and preferred choices of catheters worldwide. The use of such catheters reduces the risk of urinary tract infections. You can varied types of intermittent catheters available for various needs. 

Where can I buy the best type of intermittent catheter? 

HPFY is an online medical supplies store. We carry an array of urinary catheters and other urological products. Explore our catalog today to find the best pick for you.  

Best intermittent catheters at HPFY 



Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Taikhum Sadiq

Taikhum Sadiq

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Taikhum Sadiq has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2016.

He is an archaeology student and is passionate about learning about the past and how it impacts our future. He believes ...

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