Prescribing catheters for women helps them sustain or introduce a way in which their bladder can drain effectively. While the basic idea of a catheter is uniform across the board, several different types of catheters support various medical needs and anatomies. Additionally, the suitable catheters for women can vary significantly from the exemplary catheters for men.

Why Are Catheters For Women Prescribed?

The medical reasons supporting why catheters for women are deemed medically necessary can vary greatly. Here are some of the common medical diagnoses that require catheterization in women:

  • Bladder nerve injury
  • Blood clots in urine
  • Certain cancers, including prostate cancer
  • Certain medications
  • Dementia or other forms of cognitive decline
  • Hip fractures
  • Kidney stones
  • Labor
  • Loss of bladder muscle control
  • Paralysis
  • Prostate gland enlargement 
  • Spina bifida
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Surgery
  • Urethral blockages

Different Types Of Catheters For Women

The use of these three main types of catheters for females varies and depends on differing medical situations and comfort preferences.

  • Closed System Catheters for Women: With closed system urinary catheters, women can easily change catheters on the go due to the catheters coming pre-lubricated and connected to a sterile bag for collection.
  • Hydrophilic Self-Lubricating Female Catheters: Hydrophilic catheters are similar in style to straight intermittent catheters. However, they also have a unique hydrophilic coating that lubricates the catheter when activated with water. There are also hydrophilic catheter options that come pre-hydrated. One of the main benefits for women using hydrophilic catheters is the reduction in hand touches. Hydrophilic catheters require no hand lubrication or no-touch sleeve; these factors reduce contamination with harmful bacteria.
  • Intermittent Catheters for Women: This type of catheter style is not pre-lubricated and can be lubricated with lubricating jelly packets.

When you’re new to using urinary catheters, it can be challenging to understand which type of catheters is suitable for women. Fortunately, your doctor or healthcare provider should be able to help. Your physician or medical provider can help determine which catheter style will work best for your medical condition and lifestyle. There are many options and sizes, but the varying product styles allow catheters to be placed comfortably and efficiently for most people.

Different Tips For Female Catheters

When using urinary catheters, choosing the right insertion tip is essential for women and girls because anatomies differ, and not everyone has the same urethral openings. There are two main catheter tips used with female catheters:

  • Coudé Tip: Coudé tips are bent or curved on the end. This catheter tip works well for women with certain medical conditions, such as certain cancers or urethral blockage. This catheter tip is used in women but most often for men.
  • Straight Tip: Straight tips, most used for women, allow for comfortable insertion for most female patients and have no curve or bend at the end.

Sizes Available For Catheters For Women

Having the right catheter tube size is essential when using catheters for women. Choosing the wrong tube size can cause drainage flow to be too slow or cause discomfort to the user. A universal French size measurement system helps determine the proper catheter tube size. This universal sizing system (pictured above) is color-coded and followed by physicians, nurses, and urologists, who are generally responsible for determining the tube size that will work best for a woman patient.

Using Female Catheters

Your physician or healthcare professional will help train you on using female catheters and determine the best and easiest way to place them yourself. They can also help determine the proper tube size and the appropriate catheter tip. Catheter usage and placement is not generally a “one size fits all” process for women or men; involvement and training by a professional, especially at the beginning of use, is imperative. 

When using female catheters, it’s essential to keep an eye out for signs of infection or potential issues; these can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Blood in the urine
  • Burning in the genital or urethral area
  • Catheter or site leakage
  • Chills
  • Cloudy, foul-smelling, and discolored urine
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Lower back pain

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above or are experiencing pain around the site of your catheter, bladder, or urethra, please contact your physician or healthcare provider immediately to prevent further complications. Some of these complications are serious and can include the following:

 Bladder stones

  • Blood infections
  • Infection leading to certain cancers
  • Kidney damage
  • Septicemia
  • Urethral injury
  • Urethral injury
  • Urinary tract infections

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.