FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What exactly is a unisex catheter?
A unisex intermittent catheter is designed for use by both men and women. The catheter tube is long enough for the length of a male urethra but can still be used by women. While nearly all male catheters can undoubtedly be classified as ‘unisex catheters’, female catheters cannot as they are simply to short for a man. When inserted correctly and in the right width unisex catheters are very simple to use and work well for both genders.
Is there a difference between regular catheters and unisex catheters?
Unisex catheters are suitable for both men and women. While some catheters are gender-specific; the only ones that aren’t actually ‘unisex’ are female catheters. Male catheters must be at least 16” long to accommodate the length of the male urethra. Females can use these as well, since they don’t need to be fully inserted. Males, however, cannot use female catheters because they are far too short. Men must use male or unisex catheters to ensure they are long enough to reach the bladder. For example, the extra-long intermittent catheter for men and women with lube is a unisex product that has the length males would need for proper use. For females, it simply would not need to be inserted all the way.
Is catheterization more painful for men or women?
Catheterization is generally more uncomfortable for men than it is for women. In fact, this is why men are known to often refuse catheterization in hospitals much more than women. In some cases, catheterization simply isn’t optional.
When a patient is unable to urinate naturally, a catheter is inserted into the urethra and connects to drain the bladder. Since the male urethra is much longer than the female’s, the catheter tube is also longer. The additional length can cause a man more discomfort as there is simply more area that can be irritated; and the catheter tube will also pass through the prostate which may cause additional discomfort. That said, once the catheter is in place and provided the correct sizing has been used, the catheter should not be painful for either gender.
How do you insert a unisex catheter?
Unisex catheters are inserted in the same way as gender-specific catheters. To insert it correctly and safely, start by thoroughly sterilizing your hands. Once your hands are clean, place all the catheter supplies you’ll need on a sterile pad. For men, use one hand to hold the penis upright and gently pull back the foreskin. Once the opening is exposed, gently push the catheter through the urethra until it reaches the bladder. Urine will begin to drain immediately. For women, follow the same disinfection procedure. Then use two fingers to hold the labia apart and with the other hand, gently push the unisex catheter through to the bladder. Urine will drain as soon as it connects. The catheter should only need to be inserted two or three inches into the urethra for women. When inserting a unisex catheter – or any catheter – never force or push against resistance. If the catheter doesn’t glide in easily or causes too much pain, it may be too large.
How do I decide which brand of unisex intermittent catheters is best for me?
Trusted medical supply companies like Coloplast, Bard, and Rusch produce high-quality urinary catheterization supplies for both medical facilities and at-home environments. While these brands offer the same types of catheters, manufacturing differences and optional features will vary. Your healthcare provider may be able to give you samples to try at home before purchasing your intermittent catheters in quantity.
Some of our most popular unisex products include the Touchless Plus Unisex Vinyl Intermittent Catheter Kits, sterile catheter kits that are believed to reduce the risk of catheter-associated urinary tract infections for both men and women. They are pre-lubricated and come with a built-in drainage port. Another popular kit is the MMG® H2O® Hydrophilic Closed System Intermittent Catheter Kit specifically designed to minimize trauma to the urethra upon insertion.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER
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.