Foley catheters are one of the most common forms of urinary catheters today. Following certain surgeries or medical diagnoses, you may find yourself with one of these medical devices inserted to help drain the urine from your bladder. 

But what differentiates a Foley catheter from other catheter styles? Below, we’ll dive into what Foley catheters are, their benefits and uses, and how to adjust to using a Foley catheter regularly.

What Is A Foley Catheter?

Foley catheters, or indwelling catheters, are a type of urinary catheter inserted into your bladder and left in place to continue draining the bladder of liquid. Patients who use Foley catheters can expect them to remain in place for an extended period or until their physicians or healthcare providers deem it necessary for removal. 

This type of catheter style has a balloon that helps the catheter stay in the bladder. The balloon is filled with liquid and attached to one end of the tube. The other end of the tubing connects to a collection bag that holds urine for easy disposal.

What Is The Purpose Of A Foley Catheter?

Foley catheters have an essential, long-term job. There are a variety of reasons a Foley catheter may be the option of choice selected by your healthcare provider; some of these reasons may include:

  • Diagnostic Sampling: This type of catheter style is sometimes used to help collect urine over a certain period for urine analysis by a physician or healthcare provider.
  • Nerve Damage: Foley catheters are placed for long-term drainage assistance if permanent nerve damage occurs in the bladder or urethral area.
  • Surgery: Recovery times can sometimes be lengthy and require patients to have assistance with urination. Healthcare providers will insert Foley catheters when necessary to help patients with bladder drainage post-surgery.
  • Urethral Obstruction: When an anatomical condition causes a blockage in the urethra that may be permanent, it may call for placing a Foley catheter. Urethral blockages can result from prostate hypertrophy, prostate cancer, or enlargement. These blockages may cause it to be challenging to place an in-and-out catheter by the user.
  • Urinary Retention: It’s common for healthcare providers to place Foley catheters when patients are having difficulty urinating on a long-term basis due to a decrease in urinary force, urinary hesitancy, or general straining when urinating.
  • Urine Output Monitoring: Urine must be emptied from a bladder thoroughly and regularly. If there is a concern by physicians that the bladder may not be draining correctly, they may insert a Foley catheter to monitor urine output.

What Can You Expect When Your Healthcare Provider Inserts

A Foley Catheter?

Foley catheters are almost always placed by healthcare providers since Foley catheters are not generally considered the self-cath style of a catheter. When your catheter is being set by your healthcare professional, you can usually expect the following:

  • The lubricated catheter is inserted through the sanitized urethra, after the area is sanitized to prevent infection, into the bladder.
  • A syringe is then used to inflate the balloon, in the bladder, with water to keep it in place.
  • Finally, the drainage bag is connected to the catheter tube; and hooked to a hospital bed, wheelchair, or taped to the patient’s leg.

Tips For Caring For Foley Catheters:

Because Foley catheters are left inside for more extended periods than other catheter styles, they can be more prone to causing infection for users. Because of this increased infection possibility, proper care must be taken with maintaining Foley catheters. Here are some tips to help with caring for your catheter:

  • Some bags can be emptied every two to three hours, while some larger versions can last up to eight hours. Ask your healthcare professional or medical supplier for guidance.
  • Always wash your hands before and after changing your catheter or collection bag.
  • Ensure your bag is held above the bladder level to ensure proper collection.
  • For overnights, use a large drainage bag.
  • Keep the area around the catheter opening clean with soap and water or antiseptic wipes.

Potential Catheter Complication: 

Foley catheter users are especially prone to infection, and attention must be paid to the warning signs that could indicate complications. Here are some examples of problems that could mean further issues are present as related to your catheter:

  • Bleeding Around Your Catheter
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Little To No Urine Output
  • Long Lasting Or Recurrent Bladder Spasms
  • Skin Sores
  • Stones Or Sediment Present In Your Urine
  • Strong Smelling, Thick, Or Cloudy Urine
  • Urethral Swelling
  • Urine Leakage Surrounding Your Catheter Area

These signs must be paid attention to so that you can prevent further damage to your bladder or other complications from occurring, such as:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Bladder Damage
  • Bladder Stones
  • Blood In The Urine Or Blood Infections
  • Kidney Damage
  • Urethral Damage Or Injury
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

If you experience any of the symptoms above, please contact your healthcare provider immediately to prevent further complications.

Where Can I Receive Catheters Covered by Insurance?

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.