About Catheters

What to Know About Catheters

An alternative to incontinence pads, catheters – indwelling, intermittent, and external – can be used to empty the bladder when it is full and to prevent leakage when the person is unable to control their urination.

Additionally, a catheter can be used to help heal an incontinence-related injury or to provide relief from an overactive bladder.

How to Choose

Consider which type of catheter is best for your needs:

  • External catheters: These are best for those looking for an alternative to wearable incontinence products, like briefs or pads. Condom catheters, or male external catheters, are worn over a penis and drain into a bag. Female external catheters like the Purewick system wick urine away from the body.
  • Medical-Grade Foley Catheters: Foley or indwelling catheters should only be used under medical supervision or with instruction from your doctor.


What is the purpose of the external catheter?

External Catheters, such as a PUREWICK Female external catheter, is a non-invasive way to manage urinary incontinence at home. It is used with a Purewick Catheter system to reduce risk of moisture lesions by wicking urine away from the body. External catheters are an alternative to incontinence pads and indwelling catheters for female patients.

Is a catheter needed for incontinence?

Not necessarily. A catheter is not always needed for incontinence, as there are a variety of treatments available. Many that are managing incontinence choose a wearable product like a pull-up, pad, or brief. However, in some cases, a catheter may be the best option. If incontinence is caused by an obstruction, such as a tumor, a catheter can help to relieve the obstruction and allow urine to flow freely. In addition, if incontinence is caused by nerve damage, a catheter can help to stimulate the nerves and improve bladder control.

Why would you use an intermittent catheter?

If you struggle to empty your bladder on your own due to urine retention, intermittent catheterization may be recommended by your healthcare provider. Intermittent and indwelling catheters should never be considered without a conversation with your healthcare provider.

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