This piece has been medically reviewed by Aleece Fosnight, MPAS, PA-C, CSC-S, CSE, NCMP, IF, Medical Advisor to Aeroflow Urology.
When your doctor first prescribes an intermittent catheter, they will match you with the best type of catheter to suit your personal needs. There are many different types of catheters, and it may take trying a few different types before finding the one that is most comfortable and effective for your specific needs.
What Is An Intermittent Catheter?
An intermittent catheter is a medical device used to empty the bladder when an individual is unable to do so on their own. This process is commonly known as self-catheterization. The urinary catheter is inserted through the urethra or stoma periodically throughout the day, as needed, and is discarded after use. A stoma is an opening in the abdomen which is connected to the urinary system, enabling waste to leave the body.
Intermittent catheters can be attached to urinary drainage bags, but are often used to direct the flow of urine into the proper receptacle, such as a toilet.
What Is A Straight Tip Catheter?
A straight tip catheter is reflective of its name. It is a thin, flexible tube used to empty the bladder with a quick in-and-out process. This single-use catheter is straight from end to end with eyelets (or holes) towards the end to simplify directing urine into a toilet.
Straight tip catheters come in a variety of sizes and options, making them a great choice for many individuals. For example, pocket catheters (or compact catheters) are available to discreetly carry and use anywhere, while hydrophilic catheters refer to catheters that come pre-lubricated.
What Is A Coudé Tip Catheter?
If you cannot use a straight tip catheter, or experience catheter pain with a straight tip catheter, your healthcare provider may prescribe a coudé tip catheter. Coudé (coo-day) is a French term for bend or elbow, and this is where the catheter’s name comes from. Coudé catheters are similar to straight catheters in function, but they have a curved end as opposed to a straight end. This unique curve on the end of coudé catheters allows users to easily glide past tight spots, blockages, or enlarged prostates in order to empty the bladder.