Urinary Catheters - The Basics

What are catheters?

Never heard of a catheter? They've been around for a while - thousands of years actually! Tube-like devices have been used since ancient times to assist urinary drainage from bladders that cannot empty themselves. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians used reeds and curled up palm leaves, then graduated to silver and gold tubes. Thank goodness this isn't what we use today!

As we continued to improve the catheter, silver became a popular material to use for bladder drainage until the invention of modern latex and plastics. Some of today’s catheters are actually coated with a soft, pliable, silver alloy because of its antibacterial properties and ability to reduce the incidence of bladder infections.

Catheter Types:

  1. Foley catheters

  2. Intermittent catheters

  3. External catheters.


Each style comes in a variety of brands, sizes, and different coatings to maximize comfort and potentially reduce UTIs. You can even buy catheters pre-lubricated! Companies continue to develop newer technology, low-friction material, discreet packaging, and more to better the user’s experience.

Having a catheter shouldn't stop you from doing the activities you want to do! 

It is always best to take the advice of a healthcare professional when choosing or making changes to your catheter.