Intermittent catheters are one of the most common forms of urinary catheters used by patients who self-cath or have caregivers assisting them with catheter insertion. Because intermittent catheters are used and thrown away multiple times each day, it becomes essential for patients to have a method for easy use. A closed system catheter is the best choice for this type of situation.

Patients and caregivers increasingly use closed system catheters to simplify and streamline urinary catheter use. Below, we’ll look at closed system catheters, what differentiates them from other catheter styles, and their features and benefits.

What Are Urinary Catheters? 

Thousands of men and women use urinary catheters daily to support their bladder health. Using urinary catheters resolves three primary physician diagnoses: urinary retention, urinary incontinence, and non-autonomous urination. While underlying medical conditions vary greatly, some of the most common diagnoses include, but are not limited to:

  • Bladder or nerve injury
  • Certain cancers
  • Impaired mental function or ability
  • Medicinal causes
  • Prostate gland enlargement
  • Spinal injury
  • Surgery
  • Urinary blood clots

Urinary catheters effectively offer a good urine drainage solution for these and other medical conditions.

Urinary catheters are hollow flexible tubes made of silicone, rubber, or plastic that connect the bladder to a drainage or urine collection bag. While sizes and styled can significantly vary, there are three main types of urinary catheters:

  • External Catheters: External catheters, sometimes referred to as condom catheters or female external catheters, are placed on the outside of the body and are generally used to assist with bladder drainage in situations where mobility or cognitive issues are the primary medical conditions.
  • Indwelling Catheters: Indwelling, meaning “inside your body,” catheters are placed in a person’s bladder and drain into a bag outside the body.
  • Intermittent Catheters: Intermittent catheters, or in-and-out catheters, are used when someone only requires bladder drainage assistance for a short period. These catheters are placed through an abdominal hole or the urethra and are removed when no longer needed. The patient or caregiver can easily place intermittent catheters. 

What Are Closed System Catheters?

Closed system catheters are increasingly being prescribed and used by patients due to their improved safety and overall convenience. This catheter houses the entire pre-lubricated intermittent catheter inside its collection bag that is emptied into a receptacle.

This type of catheter system generally includes the following components:

  • A catheter cap that covers the introducer tip
  • A measured collection bag for urine collection
  • A pre-lubricated catheter
  • An introducer tip for inserting into the first few millimeters of the urethra.

What Are The Benefits Of Closed System Catheters?

When cathing is required daily to support bladder health, closed system catheters can help simplify the process for users. Some of the benefits users can experience by using closed system catheters can include:

  • Easier Cathing On-the-Go: Closed system catheters feature everything you need to insert and drain your bladder all in one. Insert, empty your bladder, discard, and go!
  • Faster Cathing: Users can enjoy a faster cathing process by reducing catheter supplies to maintain.
  • More Comfortable Insertion: Many users feel that closed system catheters are more comfortable to insert because they usually come pre-lubricated with the right amount of lubrication.
  • Reduced Chance of Bacterial Infection: This catheter style is housed in its collection bag and includes its introducer tip. Catheter users can reduce their chances of introducing too much bacteria during cathing, which helps reduce the chance of catheter-related UTIs.
  • Supportive of More Independent Cathing: Many catheter patients with ambulatory limitations or spinal cord injuries are switching to closed system catheters because they are often simpler to place, and some feature easy grips for more comfortable and practical insertion.

Using A Closed System Catheter Properly: 

As with any catheter, it’s essential closed system catheters are used and placed with care to ensure continued bladder health. When placing this style of catheter, it’s necessary to:

  • Always check to ensure the catheter is lubricated before insertion
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after placement
  • Ensure your catheter insertion site is clean and sanitary daily
  • Use sterile gloves when possible to further reduce the chance of bacterial infection

Potential Complications From Catheter Usage: 

It’s always important to watch for potential complications from any catheter, including closed system catheters. Various issues can lead to further complications if ignored or mishandled. Watch for the following symptoms, and if experienced, please make sure to contact your physician right away:

  • 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

Symptoms like those listed above must be reported quickly to healthcare professionals to prevent further or long-term damage. 

How Active Life Medical Products Can Help With Catheter


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.