FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a sterile intermittent female catheter used for?
A sterile female intermittent catheter is used to drain the bladder of urine when the patient cannot do so any other way. This usually happens when patients are undergoing or recovering from surgery or as a result of an underlying medical condition. To avoid infection and bladder damage, completely voiding the bladder of urine on a regular basis is of utmost importance. When drainage is not possible naturally, catheterization may be the best solution. As a woman's anatomy differs from person to person, many styles of catheters are available including female straight tip catheters, hydrophilic female intermittent catheters, and pre-lubricated female intermittent catheters.
How is a female intermittent catheter different from a male intermittent catheter?
The primary difference between a female intermittent catheter and a male intermittent catheter is the length. The female catheter is significantly shorter. While women can actually use both male or female catheters, they don’t need the extra length. Standard male catheters are 16” long as they must be able to go through the urethra and connect directly to the bladder. As the distance is much shorter, catheters for women do not need to be as long. In some instances, female catheters are smaller in diameter as well.
How does a catheter work for women?
A properly functioning catheter will need to be placed with the use of the appropriate female catheter supplies such as lubrication gel and cleansing pads or wipes. If properly inserted two to three inches into the urethra, it will drain the bladder as it’s supposed to. If a female catheter isn’t working and urine is not draining, you may need to remove it and reinsert it. Verify that the catheter is not broken and ensure it is carefully inserted correctly to allow for optimal functionality. If urine is still not draining, consult your physician immediately.
How do you insert a female intermittent catheter?
To insert a female intermittent catheter, start by properly washing and sanitizing your hands. Once clean, use your fingers to hold the labia apart with one hand and slowly insert the catheter into the urethral meatus with your other hand. A urinary catheter for women will only have to be inserted about three inches, or about half as far as a male catheter. Should you feel pain or resistance, be sure not to force the catheter.. If the catheter doesn’t insert easily, your physician may suggest trying a catheter lubricant, a different insertion tip style, or possibly changing sizes.
Does catheterization hurt a woman?
Female catheter placement and removal may be mildly uncomfortable, but should not be painful. If you feel pain during any catheterization process, either stop what you are doing or ask your healthcare provider to stop. By forcing a catheter into place, you can cause injury to the urethral tissue and increase the risk of infection. As a catheter that is too wide can be the culprit, changing the female catheter size may resolve pain or feeling of resistance.
Consult with your physician about the many different female urinary catheter options available on today’s market like the pre-lubricated female intermittent catheter or hydrophilic catheters for women. Other options like catheters made from silicone and rubber or with specialty insertion tips like a coude tip catheter may make the process more comfortable.
What should a woman expect after a catheter is removed?
After a female catheter is removed, patients can expect to have some urinary discomfort for about 48 hours or less. Women who have just had a catheter removed may feel a strong urgency to urinate or experience some burning or discomfort while urinating. In a normal situation, these symptoms should dissipate within a day or two. If they do not subside, contact your healthcare provider right away. If the female catheter placement caused discomfort, you may continue to feel discomfort while urinating in the hours after removing the catheter.
What type of female intermittent catheters are available?
There are several types of female intermittent catheter options to choose from. A female straight tip catheter is a straight but flexible catheter that easily inserts and drains the urine well. Another option is the hydrophilic female intermittent catheter, which is a highly preferred catheter used by many patients and healthcare providers as the self-contained lubricating package makes catheterization discreet, convenient, and easy to use for most people.
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The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, charts, and any other material on this site, is intended for informational purposes only and does not take the place of medical guidance provided by your physician. No information on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult a qualified medical professional about your condition or circumstances before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.