When it comes to intermittent catheters, the terms pre-lubricated, self-lubricated, and hydrophilic are used interchangeably. However, they are not exactly the same. Hydrophilic catheters are intermittent catheters that are packaged with a lubricated coating and a sterile saline solution. The sterile saline solution is in a pouch inside the packaging. The pouch of saline will need to be broken by the user. Once the sachet is broken, the saline solution interacts with the hydrophilic coating on the catheter and makes the catheter surface very slippery. This greatly reduces the amount of pressure you have to apply when inserting the catheter, making cathing easier. We also carry hydrophilic catheters that do not require activation. The saline solution is already mixed within the catheter packaging. This eliminates one step of the cathing process. Please see our blog on the types of hydrophilic catheters for more information.
Pre-lubricated catheters, also called self-lubricated catheters, are covered in a “no drip” sterile lubricating gel when you buy them. They are immediately ready for insertion after opening. You do not need to purchase a separate catheter lubricant. Pre-lubricated catheters are less messy than uncoated catheters, which require separate lubricant. Pre-lubricated catheters make it easy to cath away from home. You won't have to carry around as many supplies and you don't have to worry about applying lubricant in a public restroom. Cure Medical is a popular brand of pre-lubricated catheters.
Uncoated catheters have no lubricant on them when you purchase them. They are very cost effective compared to hydrophilic or pre-lubricated catheters. When using a standard catheter, is common to apply lubricating jelly to the catheter before insertion. This will make cathing easy and you won't have to apply as much force to insert the catheter. Applying less pressure reduces your risk of causing urethral trauma. We offer catheter lubricant in tubes and individually-wrapped packets. The single use packets are especially convenient to use on-the-go.