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Straight Catheter

The Benefits of Using a Straight Catheter

The Benefits of Using a Straight Catheter

When it comes to urinary catheters, there’s no “one size fits all” solution – straight catheters included. Human anatomies differ, individual comfort levels vary, and not all catheter styles will work to resolve different health conditions.

Straight catheters are one of the most commonly used urinary catheter types. Below, we’ll take a look at this type of medical device and explore the unique benefits of using a straight catheter.

What Are Urinary Catheters and Why Are They Used?

Image showing a straight catheter

Various medical problems and health situations, whether long term or short term, can ultimately lead to the need for urinary catheters to be used. Examples of some common health conditions that benefit from or require catheterization can include:

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

These and other medical conditions can cause patients to be diagnosed with urinary retention or ordinary incontinence. There are also situations where individuals may experience difficulty controlling their urinary output. 

When these diagnoses are made, urinary catheters and straight catheters are used to help empty the bladder. Urinary catheters are essentially medical devices that function to drain urine from the bladder directly to a drainage bag for disposal. 

The Three Main Types of Urinary Catheters

Catheters are generally comprised out of one of three of the following materials:

  • Red rubber latex
  • Vinyl
  • Silicone

While there are multiple subcategories of catheters, straight catheters included, they can all ultimately be classified into three main groups:

External Catheters: External catheters, also known as condom catheters, are placed on the outside and are generally used for assisting with bladder drainage in situations where mobility or cognitive issues are the primary driving causes for use. A condom-like piece will cover the penis and allow drainage into a collection bag through a connected tube.

Indwelling Catheters: Indwelling catheters, or Foley catheters, are placed in a person’s bladder. Indwelling catheters are generally placed by trained nurses or healthcare staff by going through the urethra and into the bladder. A balloon filled with water helps keep the catheter in place, while also deflating when it’s time for removal.

Intermittent Catheters: Intermittent catheters, also referred to as short term or in-and-out, are used when someone only requires bladder drainage assistance for a short period of time. These catheters are placed through an abdominal hole or through the urethra and removed as soon as no longer needed.

What Is a Straight Catheter?

Image displaying a straight catheter

Straight tipped urinary catheters are a type of intermittent catheter. Straight catheters are hollow, flexible tubes that consist of an insertion end that is placed inside the urethra and a non-insertion end that funnels urine into the collection bag or toilet for disposal. Straight catheters are generally single use and disposed of immediately following bladder drainage.

Straight catheters can come with anywhere from one to 4 holes or drainage eyelets on the insertion tip, but most feature 2 or less. The funnel portion of the straight catheter typically has a grip for easy holding while draining into the toilet.

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The Benefits of Using a Straight Catheter?

Image showing woman smiling

Straight catheters are one of the original types of urinary catheters, and there are reasons they’ve stuck around for so long. Take a look at these benefits:

Easy: Straight catheters are designed to be easy to use by practically anyone who needs them. Following instruction by a knowledgeable healthcare professional, most people find that they can place their straight catheters quickly, easily, and pain free.

Safe: Because straight catheters are used intermittently instead of being left inside the urethra, the chances of developing complications such as blockages, leaking, infection, and bladder spasms are less frequent. Straight catheters are generally considered more hygienic and carry less health risk when used properly.

Practical: For those who seek to maintain an active lifestyle while cathing, straight catheters are generally a good option. This type of intermittent catheter allows for quick insertion, effective bladder drainage, and easy disposal wherever you may be.

Why are Straight Catheters Used Over Other Styles?

When urinary catheterization is medically necessary and the patient is deemed able to cath themselves with a low infection risk, straight catheters are generally prescribed. Unlike bent tip coudé catheters, straight catheters are regularly prescribed to both men and women.

Using Straight Catheters

Inserting straight tip catheters is much like inserting a coudé catheter or other intermittent catheter. While straight tip catheters are relatively easy to place yourself, it’s important that you get professional instruction from your doctor or healthcare provider on proper placement; they’ll be able to show you how to place your catheter in a manner that suits your condition and body best.

Potential Complications from Straight Catheter Usage

Most individuals won’t experience complications from using straight catheters, however, it’s important to know the signs of potential complications and communicate with your physician immediately to prevent further issue. Indications of potential complications can include:

  • 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
Because any of these symptoms can lead to further complications such as kidney stones, blood infection, kidney damage and more, it’s important to communicate with your doctor immediately.

Are Straight Catheters Covered by My Insurance?

When prescribed by a medical professional and deemed medically necessary, straight catheters are covered by most healthcare insurances nationwide. Active Life Medical’s team of customer service experts are standing by to answer any of your straight catheter questions and can help determine if your insurance can cover some or all of the cost. Give us a call at 800-319-2336 today.

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