A female catheter is an intermittent catheter that is shorter in length, usually between five and eight inches long. The catheter is inserted through the urethra to drain urine from the bladder. Because the female urethra isn't as long as the male urethra, women have the option of using a female catheter.
Yes, a standard male intermittent catheter is about 16 inches in length, whereas a female intermittent catheter is around six inches in length. It is still safe and effective for a woman to use a long intermittent catheter, so the choice comes down to personal preference. However, a man cannot use a female catheter because it is not long enough to reach the bladder.
Intermittent cathing generally should not be a painful process. If you experience pain while inserting a female catheter, you may be using too large of a french size. Sizing down may help relieve discomfort. If your catheter does not glide in easily, try applying lubricant or opt for a pre-lubricated catheter. This will help reduce friction during insertion and removal.
Female intermittent catheters are used to treat urinary retention in women. They are available in several varieties, including hydrophilic, compact, closed system, and more. You also have the option of using a basic uncoated catheter. Each one of these products has its own benefits. In most cases, it is safe and effective for a woman to use any type of female catheter. If you are unsure of which type of female catheter to use, talk with your doctor and they can help point you in the right direction.
A hydrophilic catheter comes pre-packaged with a lubricant coating already on the catheter. A sterile water solution is also included that reacts with the coating to make the catheter surface slick. This increases comfort while inserting and removing the catheter. You won't have to apply as much force during insertion, which lowers the risk of causing urethral trauma. The sterile water is either in the form of a sachet that you break or already distributed throughout the packaging. A hydrophilic catheter allows you to cath on the go without having to pack separate supplies.
Compact catheters are a popular choice among women due to their small size. The packaging allows a full size, pre-lubricated catheter to be contained into a tube that is about the size of a lipstick. This tube design also prevents you from having to touch the actual catheter, which promotes a more sanitary cathing process. A compact catheter eliminates the need to carry separate lubricant. This is a more discreet way of taking an intermittent catheter with you. Our medical blog outlines more features and advantages of a pocket catheter. There are also compact catheters specifically designed for men.
A closed system catheter is a pre-lubricated catheter that is housed inside a collection bag. This creates a sterile field for cathing. The introducer tip protrudes out from the drainage bag has a cap over it to protect the tip for sanitation purposes. Instead of draining the catheter into a toilet, the urine flows directly into the bag. The benefit of using a closed system kit is that the user never has to touch the catheter, greatly reducing the risk of urinary tract infections. This type of catheter can also be helpful for people with limited mobility because they do not need to be near a toilet in order to cath.
Some women prefer using an uncoated catheter. The benefit of this type of catheter is that the packaging is lightweight since water sachets or drainage bags are not included. Incorporating a separate lubricating jelly along with an uncoated catheter will make insertion and removal much more comfortable. It reduces friction and prevents micro tears in the skin. You will have to apply the lubricant to the length of the catheter yourself prior to insertion. Some catheter lubricants are gel-like in consistency, while others are more watery. Trying out different brands will help you decide which is best for you. Express Medical Supply sells sterile lubricating jelly in tubes as well as individual packets.
Standard female catheters are offered with a luer end or a funnel end. These names refer to the end that the urine drains from, not the end that is inserted into the body. A luer catheter is the most basic design. The end is straight and has a hole for urine to drain. The slim design means that the packaging is a bit less bulky. A funnel catheter flares out at the end and typically has a colored gripper. The color denotes the French size and the grip prevents you from having to touch the catheter tube itself. Some grippers can be moved up and down the length of the catheter, while others are stationary at the bottom.