Intermittent Catheter Supplies 101: Learn How to Use Your Urinary Catheter 

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Intermittent Catheter Supplies

If you have recently been prescribed intermittent urinary catheters due to incontinence, urinary retention, a spinal cord injury, or other medical condition, Patient Care Medical is here to answer your questions. Our team understands that using a catheter for the first time is intimidating and may cause anxiety. Learning the basics of catheters and how they work will put you more at ease. To learn more about other common catheter questions, visit our FAQ page!

What are intermittent catheters? 

catheter funnel

Intermittent catheters or in and out catheters are medical devices used to drain urine from the bladder. They are made of hollow, pliable tubes inserted into the urethra or stoma. Catheters are used by millions of people for a variety of reasons. For example, some people use them for conditions like urinary incontinence and bladder retention while others use them for spinal cord injuries, MS or Spina Bifida.

Tips for Using Your Intermittent Catheter 

To insert your urinary catheter, learning the different parts and pieces is essential. You can identify the insertion tip as it is the more narrow end of the catheter. All intermittent catheters will have either a straight or coude tip, with a straight tip catheter typically the most common. Some people benefit from coude catheters that have a curved insertion tip. This helps navigate against urethral strictures, blockages, an enlarged prostate, etc. If you aren’t sure whether you should use a straight or coude tip catheter, speak with your physician and they will recommend the right intermittent catheter for you.                                                        

coude catheter tipIntermittent Catheter Drainage Eyelets

red rubber catheter

Drainage eyelets are small holes used to drain urine from the bladder and are always found near the insertion tip of the intermittent catheter. Most catheter manufacturers have improved the overall comfort of intermittent catheters by polishing the eyelets to help reduce potential irritation that may occur. 

Intermittent Catheter Funnels 

catheter funnel endOn the opposite side of the catheter is the funnel, or connector used to connect the receptacles such as portable urinals or drainage bags. Depending on the specific intermittent catheter, you will find the funnel to have a designated color from a universal color-coding system. These particular colors are associated with the catheter’s individual french size. 

French Sizes for Intermittent Catheters

Catheters are never a one-size-fits-all approach and we understand that every catheter won’t be the right fit for every person. This also applies to types of intermittent urinary catheters, their seizes, and the length of the specific brand and product. Urinary catheter sizing is measured in “French sizing,” which is determined by the size of the tube’s diameter. Catheter french sizes range anywhere from pediatric to adult, or anywhere from 5-24 French sizes. The color chart will indicate the specific french size of that intermittent catheter. Finding the right french size is essential as it helps the urine flow from the bladder at a rate that is comfortable. If your french size is too small, urine will typically overflow around the tube and cause a mess. If your french size is too large, it may result in a painful insertion process. To learn more about french sizes, read more here! 

catheter funnel sizes

Catheter Lengths

Intermittent urinary catheters come in three different lengths:

Pediatric and female intermittent catheters are typically shorter in length due to women and children’s shorter urethras. If you are interested in a shorter catheter length to be more discreet, Patient Care Medical offers a wide variety of travel or pocket-sized intermittent catheters and intermittent catheter kits. 

Intermittent Catheter Kits & Supplies Delivered to Your Doorsigning for catheter home delivery

The catheter specialists at Patient Care Medical are dedicated to making all of our customers comfortable when purchasing their first intermittent catheter. When you call one of our catheter care representatives today we will give you a free sample of some of our popular catheters, to help you find the right brand for you. We offer a wide variety of intermittent catheter supplies and kits from countless brands like Bard, Cure, Coloplast, Hollister & more. We offer competitive prices and nationwide shipping delivered to your door. To place your first order or speak to a representative, give us a call today! 




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