Intermittent Catheters and Supplies

Intermittent catheters, or short-term catheters, are inserted periodically throughout the day to empty the bladder. This disposable catheter type is replaced after each use, reducing the risk of urinary tract infections.

What Is An Intermittent Catheter?

An intermittent catheter is a thin flexible tube that a user temporarily inserts into their bladder through the urethra to drain urine. The end of the tube may be left open allowing you to direct your urine stream into a receptacle. This type of disposable catheter can be used multiple times during the day or can be disposed of after use. Intermittent catheters eliminate the need to continuously wear a drainage bag, making them ideal for more active lifestyles.

Qualify for Intermittent Catheters Through Insurance

Browse multiple high-quality intermittent catheter brands offered by Aeroflow Urology to find the most appropriate options for your needs. Our continence care specialists will navigate your policy details and work with your provider to make sure you’re getting the most out of your benefits. Get started now with just a few simple steps!

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How to Use an Intermittent Catheter

The intermittent catheter is known as an ‘in and out catheter’ but it may take a bit of practice to master. You’ll get the hang of it after a few uses, just remember that clean intermittent catheterization is key.

  1. Dress in clothes that make it quick and easy to access your penis or vagina.
  2. Wash your genitals with warm, soapy water or wet wipes, then dry the area.
  3. Wash your hands with warm soapy water and thoroughly dry them.
  4. Open your catheter packet, do not remove it. Place the clear side down on a flat, clean surface.
  5. Don’t touch the catheter, but remove it by slowly peeling the paperback.
  6. Add lubrication if needed.
  7. Gently use the package to pick the catheter up and use your dominant hand to peel back the clear packet to reveal the tip.

Catheterization Process for Men

  1. Use your free hand to grasp your penis and hold it at an angle. 
  2. Slowly insert the catheter into urethra about 5cm, then remove the rest of the paper.
  3. You may notice a little resistance when your catheter meets your prostate gland or sphincter muscles, gently breathe and relax the pelvic muscles to allow the catheter to pass. If you are not able to pass, avoid using force and contact your medical provider.
  4. Position your penis as normal and wait for urine to flow. Aim it into the proper receptacle.
  5. Cough and press on your bladder to make sure it’s completely empty.

Catheterization Process for Women

  1. Pick up the catheter through the packaging and remove it until you see the tip.
  2. Gently part your labia until you see your urethra. (Using a handheld mirror can help).
  3. Gently insert your catheter until urine begins to drain. Aim the stream into the proper receptacle.
  4. Gently press on your bladder and cough to make sure it’s completely empty.

After Urination

  1. Gently remove your catheter.
  2. Wash and dry your genitals.
  3. Thoroughly wash and dry your hands.

Intermittent Catheter Types

Intermittent catheters come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and tips. Each individual’s doctor will determine the most appropriate type for the patient’s needs and anatomy.


Straight Tip Catheters

Straight tip catheters are exactly that, straight. They have a simple design with a straight tip with holes or eyelets that allow urine to drain directly into the toilet. These catheters are often referred to as the original catheter because not much has changed from their initial creation. Some straight catheters come pre-lubricated and others need to be manually lubricated prior to insertion. Both types are easy to use.


Coudé Tip Catheters

Coudé tip catheters are similar to straight catheters, only they have a slightly curved tip. Coudé (coo-day) is a French term for bend or elbow. The unique curved ends of coudé tip catheters help you easily guide past tight spots, blockages, or enlarged prostates to empty the bladder.

Small holes or eyelets are located at the end of these catheters to allow urine to flow straight into the toilet. Like other types of intermittent catheters, coudé tip catheters are disposable. They should be inserted and removed throughout the day as your bladder needs to be emptied.


Closed System Catheters

Closed system catheters are sterilized catheters that come with a collection bag and introducer tip. The tip is a silicone sheath that slides into the urethra for the catheter to pass through. This prevents bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) from passing through the urethra entrance and being called to the bladder.

Closed system catheters are also touchless, designed so that bacteria from your hands does not come into contact with the catheter. The collection bag makes them easy to use discreetly. This option is perfect for pediatric patients and those in wheelchairs for their ease-of-use and low risk of infection.


Hydrophilic Catheters

Hydrophilic catheters feature a lubricated coating to provide a smooth insertion and removal process. Prior to insertion, soak the catheter in water to activate the lubrication. Unlike other catheter types, the water stays on even after insertion, making the removal process just as easy.


Antibacterial Catheters

Antibacterial catheters are a newer type of catheter. They’re gaining popularity because they’re coated with nitrofurazone, an antibacterial agent that helps prevent the occurrence of urinary tract infections (UTI). We offer antibacterial catheters from Hollister, Bard, MTG, and Coloplast.