Urinary catheters are used to drain the bladder due to incontinence, urinary retention, surgery or other medical conditions that prohibit normal function. Careful handling and cleaning is required since catheters can introduce bacteria to the body, so irrigation and insertion trays are recommended.
There are three main types of catheters:
Indwelling Catheter - Left in place in the bladder, can be used for long or short periods of time. They have a small balloon inflated on the end to prevent it from sliding out of the body. The catheter is attached to a drainage bag which collects the urine.
Condom Catheter - A condom catheter is placed over the penis, similar to a condom, and has a tube that leads from the device to a drainage bag to collect urine. These need to be changed every day.
Intermittent (short-term) Catheter - These catheters are only used on occassion and are removed after the flow of urine stops.
There are two types of Drainage Bags:
Leg Bag - A smaller device that attaches with bands to the leg, usually worn during the day.
Night Bag - Also known as a Down Drain, it is larger and mostly used at night, hung on the bed or placed on the floor.