What is a urinary catheter

Written By The HealthMeth Team - Updated On Saturday, March 13, 2021 6:00 PM

Overview of urinary catheter

A urinary catheter is defined as a flexible tube placed in the urethra to collect urine from the bladder and excrete it from the body, and is used in cases where it is difficult for the patient to pass urine. Such as cases of obstruction of the urethra , or in the event of urine leakage and inability to control it, or in the event of some types of diseases such as multiple sclerosis or exposure to a spinal cord injury, and a urinary catheter can be used for long or short periods, such as those used after surgery, and it is worth Note that there are several types of urinary catheters, each of which differs in size and material. They may be made of silicone, plastic, or taflon, and there are three main types of urine catheters: They are: stable catheters, intermittent catheters, and external catheters, and we will come to them in some detail later. [1] [2] [3]

Indications for the use of urinary catheters

As mentioned previously resorted to the use of a catheter in cases that are difficult to control in the urine output or in cases that are difficult to the urine output and recall comes with medical conditions that cause the appearance of problems in the process of urination in some detail in the following: [4]

  • An enlarged or scarring prostate , which is an obstacle to the transmission of urine from the bladder through the urethra.
  • Nerve damage or bladder weakness, as these conditions affect the ability to urinate.
  • Urinary incontinence. Urinary catheterization is the last treatment for urinary incontinence after other treatments have failed.
  • Bladder obstruction. Both bladder stones and urethral strictures are conditions that cause a bladder obstruction . [5]

In addition, the doctor resorted to the use of urine catheter without injury or disease problems in the urinary system , and these cases we mention the following: [4]

  • Passing urine from the bladder before, during, or after surgery.
  • Medication is delivered directly to the bladder. An example of this is chemotherapy in cases of bladder cancer.
  • Emptying the bladder of urine during childbirth if the woman is under the influence of epidural anesthesia.
  • Monitoring the fluid output of patients who have undergone major surgery and receive intravenous fluids . [5]
  • Bladder training, in which the catheter is stopped after the patient has gained control of the bladder. [5]
  • Measuring the amount of urine produced by seriously ill patients. [2]

Types of urinary catheters

The choice of the type of urinary catheter depends on many factors, including: the reason for which the urinary catheter is used, the period for which it will be used, in addition to what suits the patient's lifestyle, and when choosing the appropriate type of urinary catheter, many characteristics related to the catheter must be considered, such as: The outer circumference of the catheter, and the size of the catheter as the best size for it is the smallest volume through which the bladder can be emptied, in addition to the type of material used in its manufacture; This depends on the length of time the catheter is to be used for, and the overall length, shape and structure of the catheter and the size of the storage bag must also be considered. This depends on several factors, including: whether the patient can walk or not, and the number of times that the patient can empty the storage bag, and we mention the following different types of urine catheter: [5]

  • Catheter intermittent: , and named Balmottagtah because it is used several times during the day so be sure to bladder emptying completely, and these catheters sterilized and added a lubricant to reduce the risk of any discomfort when you use them, where they are directing a party The tube to the bladder through the urethra, while the second end is open to drain urine into the toilet or into the storage bag, and when the flow of urine stops, it is removed and disposed of, and at other times a new catheter is used, and it is worth noting that the patient can put this type of catheter And he removes it himself, [4]There are several types of intermittent catheters, namely: coated intermittent catheters; This type of catheter is coated with a moisturizing substance that is activated when it is soaked in water for 30 seconds before using, and the intermittent catheter is not coated. It is the traditional type of catheter, as it can be wrapped with lubricant gel or local anesthesia before it is inserted, and previously lubricated catheters can be used directly without resorting to any action before using it. [6]
  • Catheter stable: , and was named Palmstqrh because this type of catheter can be used for several days and even weeks without change, the European Association recommended for nurses urinary tract using this type of catheter for a period not exceeding 14 days, respectively, to be changed after This is done by a specialized nurse, and this type of catheter is usually used in cases that require continuous drainage of the bladder, such as: incontinence or urinary retention, and there are two types of stable catheters, one of which is by inserting the catheter into the bladder through the urethra The second is called a suprapubic catheter, in which the catheter is inserted directly into the bladder through a small incision above the pubic bone and under the navel. [7]
  • External catheter: , uses this type of catheter for males, where it device resembles a condom , and is usually used in cases where the man suffers from urinary incontinence, but is not used in cases of blockage of the urinary tract or Urinary retention , and this type is characterized by the fact that the patient can use it himself. [2]

Urinary catheter side effects and their prevention

The use of a urinary catheter may accompany some side effects in some cases, and the following is an explanation of some of these side effects and ways to prevent them:

  • Urinary tract infection: The use of a urinary catheter may help the transfer of bacteria into the urinary tract, causing infection. It is worth noting that the bacteria are able to protect themselves, which makes it difficult to get rid of them, [8] and you should see a doctor if symptoms of infection appear. , Such as: a high temperature, a feeling of burning during urination, and a feeling of pain in the lower abdomen or groin area, in addition to an increased urination process, [2] and it is good to mention that it is possible to prevent a urinary tract infection as a result of using a urinary catheter by washing your hands well Before and after using the catheter, and avoiding tightening or tying the catheter tube, in addition to asking the doctor daily about the need to use the catheter, and attention should be given to the need to place the vacuum bag below the level of the bladder. [9]
  • Bladder spasms: It is one of the common conditions that occurs as a result of the presence of a catheter in the bladder, where the bladder contracts, trying to press the catheter balloon, and it is worth noting that the pain associated with these contractions is similar to stomach cramps, so the use of analgesic drugs is used to reduce the frequency and severity of these contractions. [4]
  • Bladder stones: This is a rare condition, and it usually affects people who use stable catheters, as stones form on the tube itself or on the balloon settled inside the bladder, and to avoid this, regular checks must be made for people who use this type of catheter. [10]
  • Urethral disorders: In some rare cases, the use of a urinary catheter may be accompanied by some disturbances in the urethral area, especially if the correct method for using the catheter is not followed and not adhering to the doctor's instructions, as men may experience disturbances in the urethra, as a result of the catheter interfering with the drainage of semen In men, in addition, disorders in the urethra in men are associated with epididymitis and prostatitis, and these disorders increase with long-term use of catheters, [10] . To avoid any of these complications, gently inserting the catheter tube is recommended, in addition to using appropriate sizes. From tubes, and using lubricants, as previously mentioned. [11]
  • Other side effects: A urinary catheter may be accompanied by many side effects, including: [1] [2]
    • Blood in the urine.
    • The temperature rises.
    • Sensitivity to the type of tube used.
    • Septicemia.
    • Kidney failure .

See a doctor

The patient must maintain a permanent review and periodic with the doctor, as it is necessary to consult a doctor in any change as a result of the use of the catheter may occur, so as to follow the necessary to get rid of those procedures changes and recall with some of the things to come news of the doctor in the event of occurrence: [ 1] [12]

  • Fever and chills.
  • Permanent bladder cramps.
  • Leaking large amounts of urine around the catheter.
  • The appearance of deposits in the catheter or urine bag.
  • Swelling of the urethra around the catheter.
  • The appearance of a strong urine odor, or the urine may appear thick and cloudy.
  • The appearance of blood in the urine.


  1. ^ A b t "Urinary Catheters" , Medlineplus.gov , Retrieved 6/1/2020. Edited.
  2. ^ A b t w c "Uses And Types Of Urinary Catheter" , www.medicalnewstoday.com The , Retrieved 6/1/2020. Edited.
  3. "Urinary catheters" , www.healthnavigator.org.nz , Retrieved 6-1-2020. Edited.
  4. ^ A b t w "Urinary Catheter" , Www.nhs.uk , Retrieved 6/1/2020. Edited.
  5. ^ A b t w "Urinary Catheterisation" , Www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au , Retrieved 6/1/2020. Edited.
  6. "Intermittent Catheters" , www.continenceproductadvisor.org , Retrieved 6-1-2020. Edited.
  7. "What is an Indwelling Catheter?" , www.urotoday.com , Retrieved 1/6/2020. Edited.
  8. "Catheter – Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTIs)" , www.msdmanuals.com , Retrieved 1/6/2020. Edited.
  9. "Catheter-AssociatedUrinary Tract Infection" , www.cdc.gov , Retrieved 1/6/2020. Edited.
  10. ^ A b "Complications - Indwelling Catheters" , Www.urotoday.com , Retrieved 6/1/2020. Edited.
  11. "Catheterization: Possible complications and their prevention andtreatment" , onlinelibrary.wiley.com , Retrieved 1/6/2020. Edited.
  12. "Urinary catheterisation" , www.nhsinform.scot , Retrieved 1/6/2020. Edited.