Intermittent refers to sets of intermittent catheters which are used for several indications, such as for short-term urinary drainage after a surgical operation. They are used because of their easy application and removal. These catheters can be immediately removed after the bladder empties.
In the home setting, people are trained to apply the catheter themselves or with minimal supervision from a caregiver. This is done either through the urethra or through a hole in the lower abdomen. Intermittent catheters can also be used for patients who have urinary incontinence, urinary retention, or patients with a bladder obstruction. There are different types of intermittent catheters to choose from which will suit different needs.
3 Types of Intermittent Catheters
There are three main designs to intermittent catheters and each one serves a different purpose. Each of the types presents their own advantages and disadvantages. The use of each will highly depend on the medical professional and whatever the circumstance calls for it. Here are the three main types of intermittent catheters:
Straight intermittent catheters are flexible catheters that feature a straight rounded tip with one opening on the side of the catheter tube. This is the most commonly used type out of the three because of its accessibility, ease of application, and versatility. Often referred to as the in-and-out, this type is disposable and is for single-use only.
The main disadvantage of a straight intermittent catheter is that it may not work for all anatomies. Some patients may have special concerns or conditions that prohibit them from using this particular type of intermittent character. An example of this is someone with urethral blockage or narrowing, which will be better suited for the next type.
Coude intermittent catheters, compared to straight intermittent catheters, have a bent/angle or elbow curvature to facilitate an easier and less painful process of catheterization. This type is mainly used for men, however, it is also a useful type for women who are dealing with urethral blockage or narrowing. Apart from these, coude intermittent catheters are also utilized when a straight intermittent catheter is deemed unsuitable.
Robinson intermittent catheters are a subset of straight intermittent catheters but feature two to six openings to allow faster urinary drainage. This is especially useful in the presence of blood clots that can be an obstruction to the main catheter opening. This type of intermittent catheter may be used for both males and females.
Each human anatomy will need a different length option to successfully get to the bladder. There are typically three different length options available. Below are the options and their corresponding usage:
- Male length catheters: used for adult males and are typically around 16 inches in length.
- Female length catheters: used for adult females and are typically around 6 to 8 inches in length.
- Pediatric length catheters: used for young children and can range from 6 to 12 inches in length. The longer pediatric catheters are used for young males.
Women and children typically use shorter lengths because they have a shorter urethra, although some prefer male catheters instead.
Intermittent catheters present an easy and efficient way for persons with urinary issues to remove fluids from their body, and can also be equally helpful in surgical procedures. Knowing the type of catheter you will need for your condition will help you take care of it and lessen the chances of infection or any discomfort.