Urinary catheterisation is a procedure done to drain and collect urine from the urinary bladder. In this medical procedure, a thin flexible tube known as a catheter is used to drain urine from the bladder.
Urinary catheterisation is done to drain and collect urine from the urinary bladder. In this medical procedure, a thin flexible tube known as a catheter is passed through the urethra (the tube through which urine passes from bladder to the outside) to the bladder. In some cases, the catheter may be inserted through a hole in the abdomen in the bladder. The catheter is placed in the bladder, which allows urine to flow through it into a drainage bag.
What is it used for?
A urinary catheter may be inserted for a short or long-term basis. A catheter may be used to drain urine if you have:
- Urinary incontinence (leaking urine or being unable to control when you urinate)
- Urinary retention (being unable to empty your bladder when you need to)
- To monitor urine output in sick patients in intensive care situation
- To keep the patient dry and manageable during and after certain surgeries such as surgery on the prostate or genitals, hysterectomy
- Certain other medical problems such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury or dementia
Types of catheters
The three main types of catheters are:
- Indwelling catheter
- Condom catheter
- Intermittent (short-term) catheter
Indwelling catheter: A urinary catheter, which is left in the bladder, is known as indwelling catheter. It may be inserted for a short or a long time. When a catheter is needed for long time, some people prefer using an indwelling catheter as it is much more convenient and causes less pain as compared with intermittent catheterisation. If a catheter is required on a long-term basis, an intermittent catheter is preferable as with a long-term indwelling catheter, the risk of urinary tract infection increases considerably. A drainage bag is attached to the catheter to collect urine.
Intermittent catheter: The process by which the catheter is temporarily inserted into the bladder and removed after the bladder is empty is known as intermittent catheterisation.
Condom catheter: This type of catheter is most often used in elderly men with dementia. Instead of a tube placed inside the urethra, a condom-like device is placed over the penis. A tube is attached to the condom catheter, which drains into a drainage bag. It must be changed every day.
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