Urinary catheters are thin flexible tubes used to drain urine from the body. Catheters have been around for a long time, according to URO Today Urology News:
"Catheters were used as early as 3,000 B.C. to relieve painful urinary retention. In those times, many materials were used to form a hollow catheter shape, including straw, rolled up palm leaves, hollow tops of onions, as well as, gold, silver, copper, brass, and lead. Malleable catheters were developed in the 11th century. In time, silver was used as the basis of catheters as it could be bent to any desired shape and was felt to have an antiseptic function."
I am relieved that no one has to cath using roll up palm leaves anymore! Over time catheters have become more comfortable and they are made of silicone or latex red rubber. [More]