Catheters are thin, flexible tubes that are used for transporting fluids into and outside the body. Typically, those who experience trouble while passing urine or are unable to control urination, are fitted with a urinary catheter that helps in the urination process.
Catheters for men are used for draining urine from the bladder. Catheters are used in the case of urine incontinence, urine retention, urinary surgery, and prostate problems. Catheters for men are hollow, partially flexible tubes that collect urine from the bladder and direct it to a drainage bag. Catheters may be made of silicone, plastic or rubber. They come in various sizes and types.
Types of catheters for men
Catheters for men are used until they are able to urinate by themselves. For some, it may be required for a short duration, and for others, it may be required for a long duration. Elderly or people with a permanent injury to their urinary system may need to wear catheters for a long duration or even on a permanent basis.
There are essentially three types of catheters: indwelling, external and short-term catheters. In terms of usage, catheters are either one-time–use catheters or reusable catheters.
Indwelling catheters: As the name implies, indwelling catheters are placed inside the body. These catheters are placed inside the bladder. The other name for an indwelling catheter is a Foley catheter. This type of catheter may be used for both short and long durations. Indwelling catheters are inserted into the bladder through the urethra by a qualified nurse. For some people, this catheter is inserted into the bladder through a tiny hole in the abdomen. This type of catheter is called a suprapubic catheter. While inserting the catheter, one end is fitted with a balloon inflated with water in order to prevent slipping of the catheter out of the body. This balloon is deflated when the catheter needs to be removed from the body.
External catheters: These types of catheters are also referred to as condom catheters. They are placed outside the body. External catheters for men are used in cases where there are serious functional or mental illnesses. They resemble a condom that is used to cover the penis. A tube from the catheter leads to the drainage bag. Since these catheters are placed outside the body, the risk of infection is much less compared to indwelling catheters. Most condom catheters need to be changed daily, but some brands are intended for longer use. A wound, ostomy and continence nurse (WOCN) is qualified to replace external catheters.
Short-term catheters: These types of catheters are typically used for people recovering from surgery. These catheters are used until the bladder resumes its normal functioning. Short-term catheters are referred to as in-and-out catheters. These catheters are inserted through the urethra or by making a tiny hole in the lower abdomen.
Uses of catheters for men
The use of catheters varies for different people. Some may need to wear catheters on a permanent basis due to injury or mental disabilities; some others may need to wear them while recovering from surgery.
The doctor usually recommends wearing a catheter for the following reasons:
Urine incontinence: Some people suffer from urine incontinence. This may be a temporary phase or a permanent phase in some cases. Based on the severity of incontinence, an indwelling, permanent catheter or a short-term catheter may be used.
Urinary retention: Due to some physical disorder, people may have trouble passing urine and tend to retain it. In such cases, the catheter is connected to the bladder to collect urine and pass to the drain bag.
Uncontrolled urination: People who have had an injury or are suffering from side effects of medication or have mental disabilities find it difficult to control their urine. Urinary catheters are helpful for those who are unable to control their urine. Prostate gland issues may result in uncontrolled urination or frequent urination. Catheters can be used to ease out urination process.
Recovery from surgery: Those who have undergone surgery recently may require a short-term catheter to assist the urination process. Once the bladder resumes its function, this catheter can be removed.
Injury to the urinary system: An injury to the bladder or ureters or urethra may impair the urinary function. In such cases, a catheter may help in passing urine without difficulty.
Improper insertion of the catheter causes pain and infection, so, only a qualified healthcare provider or a nurse must be involved in placing a catheter.
Catheters for men can be used whenever there is a permanent or temporary issue with the urinary system. Indwelling catheters may cause healthcare-associated urinary tract infections. Regular cleaning is essential to prevent any infection due to catheters for men. Apart from cleaning, drinking a lot of water is essential to prevent infection due to wearing a catheter.