Hydrophilic catheters can help when men, women, or children experience an event or a diagnosis requiring urinary catheterization. They need options that best support their lifestyle and independent living needs.

What Are Urinary Catheters, And Why Are They Used?

Urinary catheters resolve three primary physician diagnoses: urinary retention, urinary incontinence, and autonomous situations. Catheters are hollow flexible tubes made of silicone, rubber, or plastic that connect a patient’s bladder to a drainage bag. Three main types of urinary catheters generally perform this drainage function:

  • External Catheters: Non-invasive catheters are used outside the urethra for bladder drainage.
  • Intermittent Catheters: Single-use catheters are inserted into the bladder through the urethra to drain urine.
  • Indwelling Catheters: Indwelling catheters, or Foley catheters, are placed in a person’s bladder by a healthcare professional and are left to drain the bladder as needed.

What Are Hydrophilic Catheters?

Hydrophilic catheters are a form of intermittent catheters that are pre-lubricated. Lubrication comes in two forms:

  • Foil Packet Lubrication: There is a foil packet inside the individual pouch for some hydrophilic catheters.
  • Pre-Lubricated: Hydrophilic catheters come in a sealed package with a water-based lubricating jelly.

The Benefits of Hydrophilic Catheters

What are the specific benefits of hydrophilic catheters? Three primary benefits lead to many catheter patients choosing this type of catheter for their needs:

  • Improved Hygiene: Hydrophilic catheters are already pre-lubricated, which reduces the need to touch the catheter directly. This reduction in the touching of the catheter can help reduce the introduction of bacteria, thus reducing infection probability.
  • Lessened Urethral Injuries: Lack of proper lubrication is a standard method for injury while catheterizing. When you insert a catheter into your urethra, too much friction can occur if the catheter is not lubricated correctly, leading to tears and severe irritation. Patients can use hydrophilic catheters that are already correctly lubricated, thus reducing their chances of injury.
  • More Convenience: Hydrophilic catheters introduce an aspect of enhanced convenience. Because the catheters don’t require outside lubrication, cathing on the go is much easier for users, supporting more independent and active lifestyles.

Who Are the Best Candidates for Hydrophilic Catheters?

Hydrophilic catheters are a more convenient catheter option, but there may be better options for some catheter patients. The best candidates for hydrophilic catheter use tend to be:

  • Those Prone to Infection: A reduction in bacteria happens because hydrophilic catheters require minor hand touching. These types of catheters help to prevent infections, such as UTIs.
  • Those Prone to Injury: This type of catheter style can offer a better-lubricated option that promotes a more comfortable cathing.
  • Those Seeking Faster Cathing Options: Many catheter users still lead full, busy, and healthy lifestyles. Hydrophilic catheters allow users to catheterize wherever they are safe without dealing with different lubricant products. 
  • Those Who Have Increased Sensitivity: Catheter users who experience pain or discomfort frequently while cathing may have a better experience after switching to pre-coated hydrophilic catheters.

Discuss your options with your physician or urologist if you could benefit from using hydrophilic catheters instead of standard intermittent catheters.

Potential Drawbacks To Using Hydrophilic Catheters

While hydrophilic catheters tend to be easier to use than other intermittent catheter options, they still can lead to the same potential complications. These complications can include the following:

  • Allergies
  • Bladder cancer
  • Bladder stones
  • Blood in urine
  • Fistulas
  • Urethral trauma
  • Urethral trauma or tearing
  • Urethritis
  • UTIs

To prevent complications and serious problems, you must maintain regular communication with your healthcare team and notify your doctor if you experience any of the following issues:

  • Bleeding around or inside the catheter
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Recurring bladder spasms
  • Sediment inside the catheter bag
  • Skin sores or lesions around the catheter
  • Strong-smelling, thick, or cloudy urine
  • Too little urine output
  • Urethral swelling
  • Urine leakage around the site of the catheter

Using Urinary Catheters

Your physician or healthcare professional will help train you on hydrophilic catheters and determine the best and easiest way to place them yourself. You must consult with your healthcare professional first when using a new medical device such as a catheter, as complications can occur with improper use.

We also recommend the following tips for best practice when catheterizing:

  1. Always cleanse your catheter site area before and after removal and draining to reduce bacterial infections.
  2. Ensure your catheter is lubricated properly to prevent tearing, chafing, and discomfort.
  3. Never force a catheter if you feel resistance, as this can cause severe pain or damage. Seek counsel from your healthcare provider
  4. Wash hands thoroughly before insertion and the following completion to reduce infection.

How Active Life Medical Products Can Help With Catheter Supplies

You need a trusted catheter product supplier when you require catheter supplies. Active Life Medical Products makes ordering the entire catheter supply process easy. Our Product Specialists can help you get your prescribed catheter covered through most insurances. Everything will be delivered directly and discreetly to your front door.

Call Active Life Medical Products at (800) 319-2336 to place your order.