What is a Catheter?
A catheter is a flexible tube that is inserted through a narrow opening into a body cavity, particularly the bladder, for removing fluid. That is the definition of the word catheter but there are many differences between them. Catheters are generally made from silicone, latex, or a combination of both. One type of catheter is called a Foley catheter. Once it is inserted into the bladder, a small balloon at the tip is inflated so the catheter can be held in place inside the bladder. Another type of catheter is referred to as an "intermittent catheter". Similar to the Foley, it is inserted into the urethra and then it is pushed into the bladder. Unlike the Foley, once the bladder is drained, it is removed immediately and discarded. People who use intermittent catheters use several a day while people who use Foley catheters use the same one for a set period of time. Some companies like Bard Medical make Foley, as well as intermittent catheters.
What is a Coude Catheter?
A coude tip catheter is a catheter that has a slight bend or angle to the tip that allows the catheter to move around obstructions such as an enlarged prostate or scar tissue. The bent tip of the catheter makes insertion much easier for anyone with an obstruction. Coude tip is available in the Foley and intermittent styles. The coude tip catheter still requires lubrication. If your catheter is hydrophillic like Coloplast SpeediCath, follow the directions that come with the catheter. If the catheter is not, then you will add a sterile lubricant to the catheter prior to insertion. Some Foley catheters have markings on them to help you insert the catheter at the right angle, so the bend is going in the proper direction. These guide marks can be very helpful. Some coude tip catheters have more of a bend than others. The best way to find out which angle works for you is to try different styles and see which you prefer. If you can't find samples of the catheters you want to try, check out an online medical supply store because many of them allow you to buy one catheter at a time. No need to commit to a box until you know for sure that the catheter will work for you.
Some variations in the Coude catheter family are:
Coude Olive Tip: Bent tip with a small bulb at the end of the curved catheter tip to help navigate obstructions in the urethra.
Coude Tiemann Tip: Bent tip that is longer, thinner, and more flexible than standard coude tips. Intended to be used to help find even very small openings through the urethra into the bladder.