All You Need to Know About Wearing a Catheter

There are various reasons why someone wouldn’t be able to empty their bladder naturally. Sometimes, the natural passage of urine could be hindered by a medical condition, surgery, or illness. In all cases, catheters are important for people who aren’t physically able to urinate. However, despite how restrictive catheters might seem, they’re actually great in terms of allowing you to live a normal lifestyle, but only if they are used correctly. Read on if you want to know more about these devices.

What They Are

Urinary catheters are flexible tubes that are placed inside the body to drain or collect urine from the bladder without having to exert any effort to urinate. They are used mostly when a patient has urinary incontinence (a condition in which the patient is unable to control when to urinate), urinary retention (patient’s inability to empty their bladder despite wanting to), and surgeries that are conducted on the prostate or genitals. Catheters are made of different sizes and materials (silicone, Teflon, latex), and there are three different types of them.

Types of Catheters

Generally speaking, there are three different types of catheters: intermittent catheters, indwelling catheters, and external catheters. The medical advisors over at explain that intermittent catheters are the standard one you’ll find in hospitals. It is a thin, flexible tube, which empties a person’s bladder when inserted through the urethra. Once a person urinates, they must remove the catheter and insert a new one. This process will occur several times throughout the day. Indwelling catheters work in a similar way to the intermittent catheter, but they are inserted for longer periods of time.

This type of catheter empties urine into a collection bag, which the user can either attach to their thigh or stand, but they must be in a lower position from the bladder in order for the collection bag to work effectively. External catheters, on the other hand, look similar to a condom, and they’re fitted around the penis and collect urine into the drainage bag. This type of catheter is optimal for people with incontinence. Also, they rarely cause any discomfort for their users, unlike the first two types.

Living with a Catheter

Because of their design, a lot of people may find it impossible to live with a catheter. In fact, they might refuse to wear one at all. However, as people become more familiar with how catheters work, acceptance of these devices has increased significantly in the past few years. Many men are now using them without dealing with any side effects or facing any complications in their lives. Of course, catheters must be used correctly to prevent bacteria from entering the body and causing an infection. Intermittent catheters, for example, must be changed on a regular basis to avoid getting CAUTI.


CAUTI, or catheter-associated UTI, is a condition in which the patient may exhibit symptoms such as high temperature, frequent urination, a sensation of burning while urinating, and pain in the groin and abdomen. To prevent this from happening in the first place, make sure that you clean the skin around the catheter with soap and water at least twice a day. You must also wash your hands before and after using catheter equipment. Be sure that there are no twists or kinks in the tubing, and always keep a glass of water within hand’s reach, as you’ll need to drink one every 2 hours. You mustn’t lie on a catheter to allow the flow of urine through the tube.

Showering and Sports

While keeping your catheter clean is important, especially if you’re using an intermittent catheter, you must also keep your body clean while wearing one. It is possible to have a catheter and take a shower with it without any hassle. However, it is advised to stay away from having a bath because this only increases the risk of getting an infection. Make sure that the urine bag is placed underneath the bladder. Make sure that you’re using a gentle soap in order not to aggravate the skin surrounding the catheter. As for sports, it is possible to practice your favorite activity, but only if that doesn’t cause any discomfort of friction. If that happens, you must refrain from doing that activity.

Now that you know some of the basic information about catheters, you can wear one that suits your needs best. These devices were designed by experts specifically for urination-related issues. Thus, they are completely safe to use. If you don’t know how to use them, make sure that you consult a healthcare professional first.