Female Catheter

Female Catheter whats the difference? 

Although the female catheter doesn’t seem to be greatly different in design from it’s male counterpart in the intermittent and Foley catheter designs, the slight design modifications are absolutely necessary in order for the catheter to work due to the differences in anatomy. In worst case scenarios, the use of the wrong catheter being used, for instance a female Foley catheter being used on a male, can result in massive trauma. It is important to have great understanding and care when it comes to understanding the differences between male and female catheters, especially if you work with both or have access to both types of catheters.

In this article, we will be explaining the difference in the various types of catheters between male and female, the reason why catheter care is especially more important in female patients than in males and the potential problems that can occur during female catheterization. We will introduce you to our patented Duette™ dual balloon Foley catheter that we believe is the next step in Foley catheter design because it solves a lot of the inherent trauma flaws that the traditional Foley catheter inflicts on both female and male patients.

The Process

With female catheterization, there are generally two options: having the catheter fitted through the urethra leading to the bladder or the suprapubic method where an incision is made just above the pubic bone and the catheter is fed directly into the bladder.

There have also been attempts at producing a workable external female catheter, but unfortunately for the most part these attempts have all failed in achieving their goal. There was some success in the creation of a male external catheter, also known as a condom catheter, but so far there is still no option of an external catheter for females.

What are the Differences?

Intermittent Catheters

When it comes to intermittent catheters, the male and female catheters in these instances, are the most similar of all the variants. The only notable difference between the male and female catheter is that the length of the male catheter is 16” and the female catheter ranges in length from 6” to 8”. This is, of course, due to the differences in anatomy between the male and female. The passage length through the urethra is considerably less in female patients than in males.

Foley Catheters

Just like the difference in length observed in intermittent catheters for women, the female Foley catheter also has differences when compared to the male Foley catheter. The size of the balloon that is filled with sterile water, which holds the Foley catheter in place, is different in size in order to accommodate the trend of smaller bladders in women.

Although it may seem like the differences between both male and female catheters are small, the effects of using the wrong catheter on the wrong gender can be dramatic. Examples of this would be the numerous cases over the years of male patients being catheterized with female Foley catheters by mistake, where because of the difference in length, the sterile balloon was inflated while still in the urethra of the patient, which in return caused massive trauma.

Catheter Care In Females

You may or may not be not aware that females are more prone to urinary tract infections than men whether they use a catheter or not. In fact up to 50% of women will experience a urinary tract infection at least once in their lifetime. Due to the high infection rates in hospitals, especially in regards to acute care facilities, special attention is required in the fitting and maintenance of the female catheter.

Potential Problems

There are a few potential problems that may arise when it comes to female catheterization. One potential problem is that there may be times when no urine comes out of the catheter. If this happens, the positioning of the catheter needs to be checked to insure that it is correctly positioned in the urethra and the catheter needs to be checked for blockages. Females may also experience urine leakages in between the times they are using intermittent self catheters or during sexual intercourse. If this problem occurs, it could mean that the female has increased her fluid intake and needs to self catheterize more often or drink less fluids. It can also be a sign of a urinary tract infection. A female may at times experience difficulty with inserting or removing a catheter and this could be due to bladder spasms. Sometimes it will help to focus on relaxing when inserting the catheter and this will solve this issue, but if this issue persists, then it is best to consult your urologist for further advice or to see if you are a good candidate for bladder spasm medication. Another potential problem that can occur is if a female notices blood on the catheter or in her urine. When this problem occurs, it usually means that the urethra is too dry and the female should try adding more lubricant to the catheter. This can also be a sign of a urinary tract infection. It is always best to consult your physician for advice on your particular catheter related issue.

What Can Help?

One of the best practices is that health care professionals are now evaluating how long female catheterization is needed and removing the catheter in the earliest possible time in order to prevent catheter associated urinary tract infections and improve standard of care in hospitals. By doing this they hope to decrease the chances of patients contracting catheter associated urinary tract infections, also known as CAUTI.

While there has been much focus on best practices in hospitals, that is not the only area that can be considered when it comes to contracting CAUTI. We believe that the best place to look for a lasting solution to CAUTI is to cut down on the cause of infections, which can often be due to the Foley catheter. This has meant a completely new look at the existing design with the outcome being the Duette™ catheter.

The Duette™ catheter aids patients who use indwelling catheters, firstly with discomfort issues caused from the invasive nature of the Foley type catheter, but also with the ability to help maintain the bladder’s own defensive lining, which is thought to be especially important in the fight against bacterium born infections such as CAUTI. This is especially pertinent when it comes to females who traditionally are more susceptible to the effects of urinary tract infections and CAUTI. The Duette™ dual balloon catheter is yet another line of defense to help patients protect themselves.

To learn the full extent of the benefits and features that our revolutionary Duette™ dual balloon catheter provides, please visit our website to get the full details.