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Catheter for Women

Catheter for Women

Image showing smiling woman. Catheters for women are designed for comfort and ease-of-use.

Catheters are used frequently by both men and women alike. That being said catheters for women can differ some from the types that work best for men; this is because men and women often have varying medical conditions that lead to catheter usage and also due to the different anatomies of the two sexes.

 At their most basic, catheters are used to assist with bladder drainage when the traditional method isn’t a possibility. Sometimes, however, it’s important to use catheters for women that are designed specifically with their needs in mind. Fortunately, there are four different kinds to choose from, so you’re guaranteed to find the right style and fit for your needs.

Image of woman smiling outdoors. Catheters for women are designed to sustain proper bladder drainage, comfortably.

When Is a Catheter for Women Used?

Catheters for women are extremely common, both in clinical settings and at home. Whether temporary or prescribed for long term use, female catheters can be used safely and effectively to assist with healthy bladder drainage in the case of urinary retention, urinary incontinence, and inability to control bladder usage. 

Some of the most common medical conditions that require catheters for women to be used are:

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

Different Types of Catheters for Women

There are four main types of catheters for women allowing for safe, effective, and comfortable use. Your doctor can discuss options with you and prescribe the catheter style that should work best in accordance with your medical diagnoses and body type.

Hydrophilic Self-Lubricating Female Catheters: Hydrophilic catheters are similar in style to straight intermittent catheters, however, they also have a special 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 either require no hand lubrication or have a no-touch sleeve; these factors reduce contamination with harmful bacteria.

Closed System Catheters for Women: Closed system catheters for women are often preferred for their general overall convenience. 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. There is no need with this catheter style to find a toilet or other place to drain your bladder as everything is directed into the included self-contained collection bag; simply find a private and convenient place to quickly and easily change your catheter.

Intermittent Catheters for Women: An intermittent straight catheter for women is one of the original and most commonly prescribed and used. This catheter style is not pre-lubricated but can be quickly prepared for cathing by using lubricating jelly packets.

Female Urethral Inserts: Female urethral catheters are generally custom fitted and go into the urethra near the end of the bladder to create a seal. The are connected to a tube that drains into a collection bag for disposal.

Female Catheter Tips

While there are four main catheters for women, there are only two catheter tip options: coudé tip and straight tip. These tips are inserted directly into the urethra and connect to the catheter tubing that drains into the bag or toilet. Your physician will be able to determine the best catheter tip for you, but it’s important to discuss with them as one tip option may be more comfortable for you than the other.

Coudé Tip: Coudé tips are bent or curved on the end. This type of catheter tip works well for women who have certain medical conditions, such as certain cancers, or a urethral blockage. This type of catheter tip is used in women, but most often used for men.

Straight Tip: Straight tips allow for comfortable insertion for most female patients and have no curve or bend at the end. This typed of catheter tip is most often used in women.

Female Catheter Sizes

Catheter sizing has to do with the tubing used to connect the catheter to the drainage bag; the sizing system used is called a French sizing system. To determine the correct tube size for catheters for women, healthcare professionals use a color coded universal size reference. The color coding is important because it indicates the size funnel attachment that is appropriate. Sizing can range from 5 fr (French) to 24 fr and is important to be accurate as tubing that is too small or too large can effect proper bladder drainage and cause further medical issues. Incorrect sizing can also cause pain to the user. 

Image shows a woman standing in front of a mountain and water.

Using Catheters for Women

Inserting female catheters is generally pretty safe and easy, but it’s important that you are trained and informed on proper use. Your physician or healthcare professional will help train you on using catheters and determine the best and easiest way for you to place them yourself. It’s important that you always consult with your healthcare professional first when using a new medical device such as a catheter for women as complications can occur with improper use.

Keep these tips in mind when inserting your female catheters for optimal use:

  • Always ensure the catheter is covered with a water-soluble lubricant.
  • Never force the catheter in if you feel resistance. This can cause severe pain and damage to your urethra.
  • Ensure your cath site and your hands are clean and sanitary. Always wash your hands immediately before and after inserting your catheter.
  • If the female catheter ever feels uncomfortable once in place, contact your physician to discuss other catheter options.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your physician right away as these could be signs of infection or other issues:

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

See the Difference with Active Life Medical

When catheters for women are prescribed for you, it’s essential that you get the right products quickly, easily, and covered by your insurance. You want to deal with a provider that you can trust and who understands your unique needs; a provider who can help you navigate your insurance to get the right supplies delivered conveniently to your doorstep. This is where providers like Active Life Medical come in and why more women are choosing us for their urinary catheter needs.

You’re in good hands with Active Life Medical. Our team of  knowledgeable customer service representatives are highly trained and can help you get the catheters you need covered by your insurance. Our representatives will work to make the process of getting the female catheters you need to you fast, easily, and affordably. We’ll guide you through the process from A-to-Z, including:

  • Coordinating with your doctors and healthcare providers to gather the necessary paperwork needed for your catheters for women
  • Finding the right catheter that meets your prescribed medical needs
  • Billing your urinary catheter supply directly to your insurance
  • Expertly answering any questions you have pertaining to catheters or the insurance process
  • Delivering to straight to your door quickly and discreetly

We have one of the largest catheter for women selections of any medical supplier and work with all of the top brands, meaning you’ll only get quality catheters when you’re with Active Life Medical. Plus, when prescribed by a medical professional and deemed medically necessary, female catheters can be covered at no cost to you by Medicare, Medicaid, and most healthcare insurances nationwide.

Active Life Medical’s team of customer service experts are standing by to help get you the catheters you need at little to no cost to you. Let us help. Give us a call at 800-319-2336 today so we can help get the process started. 

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