Urinary catheter is a tube that is inserted into the urinary bladder of the patient through the urethra. This tube is normally made of latex rubber or silicone. After the insertion of the urinary catheter, the urine can be easily drained from the urinary bladder. Urinary catheterization is normally performed by a clinical physician or nurse.
Urinary catheters are available in different designs. The Foley catheter is also known as the indwelling urinary catheter. It is usually made of silicone or natural rubber. An inflated balloon is used to prevent this catheter from slipping out of the body. Robinson catheter is also known as intermittent catheter. It is a flexible catheter that does not have any balloon to keep it one place. It is meant for short term usage.
In men, the tube of the catheter will be inserted in the urinary tract using the route of penis. Most men suffering from incontinence can also use condom catheter. In women, the urethral region is first cleansed with povidone-iodine and then the catheter is inserted into the urinary tract through the urethral orifice. As the female genitals have many layers, the process of inserting the catheter is a bit complicated. The incidence of bladder spasms is more common in men.
Urinary catheters are considered as important health resources for patients suffering from urinary retention or incontinence. The urinary catheter may also be inserted in patients who have undergone surgeries that restrict the movement of the patient. Patients whose bladder or prostate has been operated are also considered as candidates for urinary catheterization. Note that, the process of urinary catheterization is a sterile process. Some patients may report of intense pain while inserting the catheter. So, this process necessitates the use of anesthetic.
In case of catheters used for considerable period of time, a drainage bag will be attached to the catheter for the purpose of collecting urine. Thus, the process also helps in knowing the patients urine output. Long term catheterization is recommended to people who have undergone major surgical procedures. In such patients, it is necessary to regularly irrigate the urinary bladder using sterile saline injection. The process is conducted with an objective of flushing out all the clotted material that may have clogged the bladder. The side effect of long term catheterization is that the patient becomes prone to developing infections of the urinary tract. Other complications associated with urinary catheters include development of sepsis and hematuria.