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Urological Community

Introduction to Catheters

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
07/06/18  1:53 PM PST
Introduction to Catheters

Are you new to catheters? Have you just spoken to your doctor about your next options when it comes to emptying your bladder? Do you know someone who uses a catheter and would like to know more?

Then this is the page for you! We have compiled all of our catheter 101 articles, resources, links and glossaries into one spot to help out people who are just beginning their journey with catheters. Shield HealthCare has been providing medical supplies since 1957, and we understand that information is often as important as the supplies themselves.

To start at the very beginning: a catheter is a tube that is very thin and very flexible. There are several ways it can be used to drain urine from the bladder. There are intermittent catheters, which are used throughout the day when it’s time to empty the bladder; indwelling catheters, which stay attached to the body to drain the bladder; and external catheters for both men and women (also known as condom catheters for men), which can be worn throughout the day and are not inserted into the body. You can learn more about the differences between these catheters in our Catheter 101 article.

Catheters may be required for a short time (for instance, many women are given an indwelling catheter if they get an epidural during childbirth – but it is removed before giving birth) or long-term (individuals with nerve damage who cannot empty their bladder at will may use an intermittent catheter when they feel the urge to pee – you can find the steps for self-catheterization in this article).

There are risks associated with all kinds of catheters, so it’s important to use the one that is best for your individual needs. You can read more about catheter-associated urinary tract infections in our article about adjusting to your new catheter.

Check out these links to learn all about the different types of catheters and terms: