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What is a catheter used for ?

What Is a Catheter Used For and Why?

A catheter is used for draining a person's bladder and is ordered by a physician for many different medical purposes. So when you ask what is a catheter used for? be prepared for a log answer Some reasons why a catheter may be used include when a person is unable to urinate on their own or has little control over urination, patients that are hospitalized for certain surgeries, patients that are in a coma, patients that are sedated for long periods of time, or patients that have urinary health issues. A person may also need to use a catheter if they have acute or chronic urinary retention, are required to make little movements due to a surgery or injury or if the input and output of urine needs to be measured, such as in the case of a patient who has kidney disease. Patients that have been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis or dementia often require the use of a catheter. As you can see when asking what is a catheter used for ? the answer can be very broad.

How Does A Catheter Work?

By inserting a catheter, which is a small rubber or plastic tube, into the bladder, medical professionals are able to help a patient empty urine from their bladder. By inserting a catheter, there is no need to use muscles to empty the bladder. The catheter allows urine to continuously leave the bladder and flow down a tube that is connected to the catheter and empty into a urine collection bag. Catheters come in several different types and sizes and can be used by males and females.

Using a catheter is a very easy and quick way of alleviating urine from the bladder. It may feel uncomfortable, but should not be painful. However, it is possible for a patient to experience pain during the insertion and removal of the catheter, but a topical anesthetic may be applied. The insertion of a catheter should always be a sterile procedure in order to lower the risk of infection. There are several types of catheters such as an indwelling catheter, a condom catheter, and an intermittent catheter.

An indwelling catheter is used for patients who require long term use of a catheter, but can also be used for short periods of time. An indwelling catheter remains inserted into the bladder and is usually changed once a month. The catheter is connected to a tube that is connected to a urine collection bag that is emptied as needed by opening an valve to drain out the urine. This type of catheter can be inserted through the urethra or can be used as a suprapubic catheter, meaning it is inserted into a small hole in the lower abdomen. (Surgery is required for the suprapubic catheter.) A balloon is inflated in order to prevent the catheter from coming out of the body. The catheter can be removed by simply deflating the balloon.

A condom catheter works in the sense that it is like a condom and is placed over the tip of the penis and is not inserted. It is then connected to a tube that is connected to a urine collection bag. This is the least invasive option when it comes to catheters and has lower risk of infections. There is no surgery required and no need to insert a catheter into the body.

An intermittent catheter is generally used by patients who only need to use a catheter on a few occasions or for short term use. When the bladder is in need of being emptied, the patient or medical professional will insert the catheter under sterile procedures and drain urine from the bladder. When the bladder is empty, the catheter can be removed. This type of catheter can also be used by patients who require long term catheterization and prefer this method over an indwelling catheter.

There are several types of urine collection bags. There is a large bag, called a “down drain” that can be used overnight for the collection of urine. This bag generally holds 2000cc or 4000cc of urine and has a hook that allows it to be hooked under the patient's bed. Another type of urine collection bag is the “leg bag”. This bag is smaller and holds 500cc or 1000cc. The leg bag can be worn discreetly under pants and attaches to the leg with elastic straps. This bag is usually worn around the calf and is connected to a tube that is connected to the indwelling catheter. The leg bag can be emptied by opening the valve and draining the urine into a toilet. The third type of urine collection bag is the “stomach bag”. This bag can be worn around the stomach and under clothes, so it is very discreet. Just like the leg bag, it can be emptied as needed by opening the valve and draining the urine into a toilet.

Catheters are very helpful to patients in many different situations and are used for draining urine from the bladder when a patient is not able to do so on their own or when a medical professional feels it is necessary.

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