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Urinary Catheter Insertion

Urinary catheter insertion is usually performed by a nurse, doctor, or other health clinician, although in some situations, certain types of catheters can be self-inserted by the user. The catheter is inserted into the urinary bladder and will allow it to drain freely. Urinary catheter insertion is done to irrigate the bladder, collect urine samples, and/or to administer medications. A catheterization may be done for short-term use, or for long-term or indefinite use.

Urinary catheter insertion is done under sterile conditions on males and females. Male catheter insertion is accomplished through the urinary meatus at the end of the penis. The catheter is lubricated and inserted into the meatus and advanced until it reaches just beyond the opening to the urinary bladder. In a female patient, the catheter is also advanced through the urinary meatus and about a half inch beyond the place where urine is returned through the catheter.

There are many different types of catheters, specialized for either male or female use, and that vary based on the patient’s condition and needs. Intermittent catheters are internal short-term, one-time-use catheters. Indwelling catheters, also known as Foley catheters, are internal long-term catheters with a balloon at the end that is inflated with sterile water to hold it in place inside the bladder.

Along with the insertion procedure, characteristics and types of male catheters naturally differ from the different types of female catheters. Male intermittent catheters are 12 to 16 inches long and male Foley catheters are 16 inches long, while female intermittent and Foley catheters are typically six inches long. Male and female catheters are sometimes made of different materials and with different lubricants or antibacterial agents, to best suit the differing anatomical characteristics of males and females. There are also external catheters, which are generally better suited for male use than female use.

In addition to incontinence-related conditions, catheter insertion is necessary for many types of surgeries. Many times, before childbirth, an intermittent catheter insertion will be performed to drain the bladder prior to a vaginal delivery. The intermittent catheter doesn’t have a balloon on the end and is for one-time use before being discarded. Other types of surgeries, such as gastric surgeries or surgeries on either the intestinal or reproductive tract, will require an indwelling catheter to be put in place to facilitate the flow of urine from the body. Oftentimes, the trauma of surgery and the effects of the anesthesia will make it difficult for the patient to release urine from the bladder; therefore, a Foley catheter will be inserted.

Contact Liberator Medical to speak with a respresentative today at 1-888-244-0789 if you have any questions about catheter insertion, or to learn more about our Catheter Supply-Care Program.*

*Co-payments, deductibles and conditions apply.

Catheter Supplies Brochure

Cather CareAttention: Medicare & Insured Parents.

If you're covered by Medicare and have a doctor's prescription you can qualify for Single-Use through our Catheter Supply-Care Program. Click here for more information.


*Co-payments, deductibles and conditions apply.


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Click links below for more information on: Types of Catheters
Catheter Bag CareCatheter CareCatheter InsertionCatheter Supply CareSelf Catheter Care
Female Catheter Information: Types of Female Catheters
Female Catheter CareFemale Catheter InsertionFemale Urinary CatheterFemale UTISpeediCath CompactCure Twist
Foley Catheter Information: Foley Catheter Types
Foley CathetersFoley Catheter CareFoley Catheter InsertionFoley Catheter Removal
Male Catheter Information: Types of Male Catheters
GeeWhiz Male External CatheterMale Catheter InsertionMale Urinary Tract Infections
Additional Catheter Information: Catheter Types
Catheter InsertionCatheter PainFemale Catheter InsertionIntermittent CatheterizationMale Catheter InsertionWhy have a Catheter Supply Care Plan?
Other Information :
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