Choosing the Right Intermittent Catheter

Catheterisation is the process of using a catheter which is a tube-like device to empty bodily fluids that cannot be expelled naturally. Catheters are used in different treatment methods and for medical devices such as ostomy pouches, chest drainage and urinary systems.

What are intermittent catheters?

The most basic form of catheters, intermittent catheters are used to drain out urine from the bladder of a person who is unable to do so naturally. They are basically a tube system attached to a collection pouch. Inserted into the body through an ostomy or through the urethra, these catheters can be inserted and removed on a daily basis, and so a person does not have to wear it continuously.

When does one need to use an intermittent catheter?

There are many disorders and ailments that may result in a person losing his/her ability to empty out the bladder the normal way:

  • Spinal cord injuries

  • Prostate enlargement

  • Urinary retention

  • Incontinence

  • Urinary tract infection

  • Male infertility

Types of intermittent catheters

There are three types of intermittent catheters:

  • Uncoated catheters: They are made of PVC, silicone or natural rubber. They are labelled for single use and should be avoided by people with latex allergies

  • 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.

  • Coude tip catheters: The tip of this catheter 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 the hard to reach places.

  • 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.

  • 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 reduces pain while passing through orifices. It has an elongated, tapered tip which makes catheterization comfortable.

Taking care of the catheter

If you have a re-usable catheter then care should be taken to keep it clean and hygienic so as to prevent infections. 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. Alternately, 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 for drying it

  5. Once dry, place catheter in a clean bag

Best buys for intermittent catheters

Bard Bardia Red Rubber All Purpose Intermittent Latex Urethral Catheter

Bard Bardia Red Rubber All Purpose Intermittent Latex Urethral Catheter

Made of red latex for increased firmness compared to regular latex, the Red Rubber Catheter is radiopaque with a round and hollow tip and is an all-purpose catheter.

Amsino AMSure Male Latex Red Rubber Urethral Catheter

Designed to be inserted into the bladder of a patient to drain urine, the Amsino AMSure is a 16” uncoated catheter that is radiopaque and sterile. It does not have to be attached to a leg or drainage bag and can easily drain into a bedpan or toilet.

Amsino AMSure Male Latex Red Rubber Urethral Catheter
LoFric Primo Hydrophilic Intermittent Male Catheter

LoFric Primo Hydrophilic Intermittent Male Catheter

The Urotonic Surface Technology of the LoFric Primo offers low friction and maximum comfort. Since it comes packaged with its own sterile water, the user can safely catheterize even where there is no clean water source available.

Coloplast SpeediCath Straight Tip Male Intermittent Catheter

The SpeediCath is specially designed to address comfort and reduce the risk of urethral damage. Its unique hydrophilic coating and the polished eyelets ensure smooth catheterization during both insertion and withdrawal. The ring-pull feature provides easy opening and the adhesive dot keeps the catheter in place.

Coloplast SpeediCath Straight Tip Male Intermittent Catheter

Intermittent catheters are still one of the most used and preferred choices of catheters in the world. Use of intermittent catheters reduces risk of urinary tract infections. The variety and varying specifications of these catheters make them accessible to multiple user types.


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