Catheters have been highly popular and used since the latter half of the 20th century. They created a multibillion-dollar industry and transformed how people with various illnesses lived. As a result of this industry’s recent expansion into the international market, many people believe that the catheter is an innovative idea. This idea may sound surprising, but the catheter has been around for millennia, not just decades or centuries. Even though the catheter lately became a global phenomenon, it has a long history that predates the invention of the wheel. Are you interested in learning more about the history of intermittent catheters? Keep on scrolling to find out more about them.

The History Of Catheters

The ancient Greeks were the first to use the phrase “catheter,” but the idea behind it dates back to around 3,000 B.C. Typically, catheter means “to allow or send down.” People from earlier civilizations invented this remedy for urinary difficulty and discomfort. Ancient people attempted to make a tube out of any material they could find. It included gold, silver, brass, straw, and copper to attain the catheter’s specific form and function. They used to mold and twist the tubes to make them functional. Though the basic framework of catheters was born, it evolved as established societies such as the Roman Empire expanded worldwide. Over the years, the structure of catheters has become less delicate and fragile and more accessible to make and use.

Other Catheter Materials Throughout History

For a long time, people utilized hollow reeds. The usage of metal catheters constructed of brass, gold, copper, silver, and lead occurred later. While the medical industry doesn’t use silver catheters, they are still functional and practical in some medical procedures thanks to their great antiviral and antibacterial qualities.

Additionally, some Foley catheter varieties have a colloidal silver coating that might help prevent UTIs. The legendary inventor and founding father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, contributed to developing a silver catheter. He developed a catheter for his brother, John, who found catheterization uncomfortable. Therefore, he collaborated with a nearby blacksmith to develop a new, more comfortable catheter design.

The Dawn Of Red Rubber Catheters


The 1700s saw the introduction of the first rubber catheters. These catheters had better flexibility and could easily bend. However, natural rubber can swell and become brittle as it becomes cold. Unfortunately, the rubber catheters used in this era occasionally fell apart or breakdown, leaving pieces in the urethra and bladder.

Charles Goodyear revolutionized the idea of vulcanizing rubber in the 1800s. Thomas Hancock patented this concept in 1844. Catheters made of vulcanized rubber soon took over the market. Red latex rubber catheters were among the most widely used materials of the 20th century. As technology advanced, new materials, such as silicone and latex-free catheters, started to gain popularity around the end of the 20th century.

The Advent Of Sterile Catheterization

Catheterization is a safe technique used worldwide. Yet, urinary tract infections continued to be a common problem. Many injured warriors from World War II suffered from spinal cord injuries and other conditions requiring the use of catheters. Unfortunately, they frequently contracted various infections and illnesses.

Ludwig Guttmann, a British neurologist, presented the idea of sterile intermittent catheterization. He was one of the founders of organized physical exercises for individuals with impairments (including the Paralympic Games in England). Urinary tract infections became significantly less common because of the sterile catheterization procedure.

The Latest Catheter Technology

The development of catheter technology has advanced significantly since the turn of the century. The use of intermittent catheters has exponentially increased in just 20 years. They are available in various sizes, materials, brands, and types. The range includes pre-lubricated, hydrophilic, closed-system, child-sized, and pediatric catheters.

3D modeling platforms of higher caliber and effectiveness developed better-designed and less expensive products. Insertion became more bearable and less painful thanks to new remedies and lubricating methods like hydrophilic coating. Users of catheters believed that things couldn’t get any better.

Catheters have significantly evolved with time. Now, they are more compact, comfortable, and easier to use and carry. However, it would help if you bought them from reliable manufacturers like Active Life Medical Products, which offers the best available catheter supplies. They are ready to assist you in selecting the catheter from their extensive selection of top-quality products as a leading provider in America.

How Active Life Medical Products Can Help With Catheter Supplies

You need a trusted catheter 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 to your front door.

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