A straight catheter is a type of intermittent catheter that is same diameter along the entire length of the catheter and does not have an angled tip. This is considered the standard type of catheter, but it is offered in different materials and lengths to suit your needs.
There are many styles of straight catheters to choose from including uncoated, pre-lubricated, and hydrophilic. An uncoated catheter has no lubricant on it when you purchase it. Many people pair a separate lubricating jelly along with an uncoated catheter to make insertion easier. Pre-lubricated catheters come with a lubricant coating when you buy them. These are great for travel because you won't have to deal with applying catheter lube in a public restroom. Hydrophilic catheters are coated with a polymer solution that becomes very slick when it comes into contact with water. Some hydrophilic catheters contain a packet of saline water that activates the polymer coating when it is broken. Others are ready to use and do not require activation by the user.
Straight intermittent catheters can be made from various materials such as vinyl, silicone, or latex. The main difference between the materials is the level of flexibility. Vinyl catheters, also known as PVC catheters, tend to be the most firm. The latex variety, also known as a red rubber catheter, is the most flexible of the three. Silicone catheters fall in the middle when it comes to flexibility.
Another factor to consider when choosing a straight intermittent catheters is the length. The lengths usually range from 5-8 inches and 14-16 inches. The shorter catheters are referred to as female catheters. These can only be used by women because they are not long enough to reach the male bladder. The longer catheters are typically used by men, but women can also safely use them. These are also popular amongst wheelchair users because it prevents them from having to get out of the chair to cath.