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Foley Catheter Sizes: How To Find The Right One?

Foley Catheter Sizes: How To Find The Right One?
Akanksha Nigam

For those who are experiencing difficulty in controlling the flow of urine or are unable to urinate on their own, a foley catheter can help. It is used if a person has an infection, swelling in the prostate gland, a reaction to certain medication, a disease or injury, or has undergone surgery. A foley catheter, also known as an indwelling urinary catheter, is inserted in to the bladder either through the urethra or by making an opening in the belly and is left inside the bladder for a short or a long time.

The duration will be decided by the healthcare provider. The catheter is attached to a drainage bag which has a valve to allow the urine to flow out. The drainage bag is attached to the leg and can be worn inside clothing.  

How to insert a foley catheter? 

A 2-way foley catheter is comprised of two lumens and a balloon. One lumen has openings at both ends and drains urine in a collection bag. The other lumen has a valve on the outer end, which connects to the balloon. To keep the balloon inside the bladder, it is inflated with sterile water, so it does not slip out. 

Another type is the 3-way foley catheter. It has an additional third lumen which is used to infuse sterile water. 

Foley Catheter Sizes 

Foley catheter sizes vary among children and adults. Also, there are male foley catheters and female foley catheters as per the size. The indwelling foley catheter is chosen as per the external diameter of the tube. The universal unit used for measuring the size is the “French size.” As the number increases, the diameter of the tube also increases. A simple calculation to figure out a foley catheter size in French size (FR) is to multiply the tube’s diameter in millimeters by 3. For example, if the diameter is 4.7mm, after multiplying it by 3, it will be 14 FR in size. 

Age, weight, and sex play a vital role in selecting the size of catheter. Generally, a shorter length is recommended for efficiency, but if the patient is heavier or has a considerably large build, a longer catheter would be used. If it is a female catheter, a smaller size catheter would be used as compared to a male. This is due to the anatomical difference in the lengths of the male and female urethra. Foley catheters are usually color-coded on one end for size identification. 

As a regular practice, the following sizes are recommended based on the output. 

  • For draining clear urine, 12-14FR is used. 
  • If the urine contains any debris or particles, 14-16FR is used. 
  • If there are blood clots present in the urine, 18 or above FR is used. 

Foley catheter length selection also varies according to gender. A female foley catheter size is 7-10FR, a male foley catheter size is 15-18FR, and a pediatric foley catheter size is 10-12FR.  

Here are the color and size combinations:

Foley catheter size chart


Why is foley catheter sizing important? 

There are reasons for using only a suitable and specific size for a patient per age, gender, and weight. These reasons are as follows: 

  • If the size is too small, emptying the bladder can become challenging and time-consuming.  
  • If the size is too big, the catheter insertion will be painful. 
  • A smaller catheter will result in leakage. 
  • A larger catheter may cause irritation and trauma to the urethra. 

Your healthcare provider will guide you regarding selecting the right catheter size. 

3 Best Foley Catheters

1. Bard Bardia 2-Way Silicone-Elastomer Coated Foley Catheter with 5cc Balloon Capacity

This Bard catheter comes with rigid latex and round catheter tips for easy insertion. It is coated with silicone elastomer to reduce urethral irritation. Also, silicone is resistant to chemical attacks and temperature changes. This 2-way foley catheter is designed using a hydrophobic material that rejects moisture and is convenient to use. 

2. Bard Silastic 2-Way Standard Specialty Foley Catheter with 5cc Balloon Capacity

The latex-based Silastic catheter is firm but also flexible. It has a smooth non-stick silicone coating which helps in reducing calcification. The 5cc balloon is made of high-quality material with great strength and an appropriate tip location. It has a short round tip with two opposing drainage eyes. 

3. Poiesis Duette Dual-Balloon Two-Way Foley Catheter

This catheter with two balloons is made of 100% silicone. The two balloons are 5cc and 10cc in capacity, and can be inflated with sterile water. These balloons help secure the catheter within the bladder. Insertion and removal are easy with the subsumed tip. The Poiesis catheter reduces any adverse impact due to the catheters, resulting in better outcomes and patient care

Choosing the right foley catheter size is important for overall comfort and urethral health. This makes self-catheterization easy and efficient and avoids any trauma to the urethra. If you are unclear about how to select the right size, your healthcare provider will guide you. 

Bard Bardia 2-Way Silicone-Elastomer Coated Foley Catheter With 5cc Balloon Capacity


Bard Silastic 2-Way Standard Specialty Foley Catheter With 5cc Balloon Capacity


Poiesis Duette Dual-Balloon Two-Way Foley Catheter





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HPFY Akanksha Nigam

Akanksha Nigam

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Akanksha Nigam has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. With a Masters Degree in Finance, she began her Marketing career in the banking industry. However, her interest in human ...

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