Foley Catheters: Everything You Need to Know

The loss of the ability to urinate naturally is one of the most difficult things for a person. Foley catheters are a type of catheters that help alleviate a person’s condition in this case. They are inserted into the urethra to drain out urine from the bladder.

Each one of us has gone through the ordeal of not being able to find a restroom in some point in our lives. Those moments of urgency are very uncomfortable and many a time painful. But for many people around the world urinating naturally becomes an arduous task due to some kind of ailment or complication. There are many reasons why one is forced to use a supplementary urinary system to expel the toxins out of their bodies.

What is a Foley Catheter?

One of the major devices used to get through the difficult situations of not being able to urinate naturally is the Foley catheter. Foley catheter is a thin and flexible tube that can easily be inserted into the urethra. It is one of the most common indwelling catheter types. The tube has two sections going down its length. One of them is open at both ends and drains urine into a collection bag. The other end has a valve that connects to a balloon at the inside tip. The Foley balloon is inflated with sterile water when it is inside the bladder. This stops the catheter from slipping out. It is made using silicone or coated natural latex.

When does one need a Foley Catheter?

There are many different complications and ailments that result in the loss of ability to urinate naturally. Some of the common Foley catheter indications are as follows:

  • Incontinence
  • Enlarged prostate thus stopping urine flow
  • Acute urinary retention
  • Paralysis or physical injuries
  • Ureterectomy
  • Hysterectomy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Skin impairment or breakdown​
  • Genital injuries

Types of Foley Catheters

Based on the types of Foley catheter tips, there are straight tip, coude tip, and council tip catheters:

1. Straight Tip Foley Catheters

One of the most common Foley catheter types, straight tip catheters have a small 1.25 inch opening at the end. They have a hydrophillic coating that allows for easy lubrication. This in turn reduces pain and discomfort. One of the popular straight tip catheter is Medline Silvertouch Two-Way 100% Silicone Straight Tip Foley Catheter.

Medline Silvertouch Two-Way 100% Silicone Straight Tip Foley Catheter

2. Coude Tip Foley Catheters

Named after the French word for elbow (coude), coude tip catheters have a slight bend near the tip. They are generally prescribed to patients who have an enlarged prostate. Their catheter tip is designed to get past tight spots. Bard Bardex Lubricath Two-Way Carson Model Speciality Foley Catheter With 5cc Balloon Capacity is one of the top selling coude catheter.

Bard Bardex Lubricath Two-Way Carson Model Speciality Foley Catheter With 5cc Balloon Capacity

3. Council Tip Foley Catheters

The only difference with this catheter tip is that it has a hole on the top so that they can be passed over a wire. One such council tip catheter is Medtronic Covidien Dover Two-Way Council Tip Silicone Foley Catheter With 5cc Balloon Capacity.

Foley Catheters: Everything You Need to Know

Based on the number of lumens, there are two-way and three-way Foley catheters:

1. Two-way Foley Catheters

Two-way catheters are basic Foley catheters with two lumens and a balloon at one end. The strips of these catheters are usually radiopaque thus making them easier to locate while scans. PECO Medical Two-Way 100% Silicone Foley Catheter With 5cc Balloon Capacity is a good example of two-way foley catheter.

PECO Medical Two-Way 100% Silicone Foley Catheter With 5cc Balloon Capacity

2. Three-way Foley Catheters

Three-way catheters have an extra lumen to infuse an irrigating solution such as a sterile saline. Foley catheter irrigation helps wash away blood clots or stains after a surgery. Rusch Gold Three-Way Silicone Coated Latex Foley Catheter With 30cc Balloon Capacity is a type of triple lumen catheter.

Foley Catheters: Everything You Need to Know

Caring for your Foley Catheter

Taking care of the catheter is an important step in ensuring that one does not have any complications or infections. Here are a few things one must keep in mind while taking care of the catheter:

  • Clean the area where the catheter exits your body.
  • Drink enough fluids to prevent infections.
  • Wash your hands always before and after handling the catheter.

Invented by Fredric Foley, indwelling Foley catheters have made it easy for medical professionals as well as for general public to expel urine from the body without any difficulty. The simple yet effective design and working of the catheter has made it an important part of a lot of urological treatment processes. For more information on choosing the right Foley catheters, please Click Here


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