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Coudé Catheters

What Is a Coudé Catheter?

What Is a Coudé Catheter?

What Is a Coudé Catheter?

Coudé catheters are a common type of urinary catheter.

According to a Stanford University publication, over 1.5 million urinary catheters are place and used each day in the United States, making catheters one of the most used medical devices by patients to treat temporary or long term related issues.

While there are three main types of urinary catheters, there are several subcategories within each type; this is because differing human anatomy demands choice for proper use. Coudé catheters are an example of one of the most commonly used urinary catheters. 

But, what determines a someone’s use of one catheter style over another? Below, we’ll take a closer look into urinary catheters and explore what coudé catheters are.

What Are Urinary Catheters?

Different urinary catheters, including coude catheters, shown here.

Urinary catheters are used to resolve three primary physician diagnoses: urinary retention, urinary incontinence, and situations where urinating is unable to be controlled autonomously. That being said, the medical conditions that can lead to the aforementioned diagnoses can have a wide range and include:

  • Urinary blood clots
  • Prostate gland enlargement
  • Certain cancers
  • Surgery
  • Bladder or nerve injury
  • Spinal injury
  • Impaired mental function or ability
  • Medicinal causes
When conditions such as these cause urinary retention, urinary incontinence, or other related medical diagnosis, urinary catheters, such as coudé catheters, are used to offer a bladder drainage solution.

In their most simplistic state, urinary catheters are hollow flexible tubes made out of silicone, rubber, or plastic that are used to connect the bladder to a drainage bag. There are three main types of urinary catheters that perform this drainage function:

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.

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.

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.

What Is a Coudé Catheter?

Coudé catheters are a common type of urinary catheter.

Coudé catheters are named so because of their uniquely curved tip. The word “coudé” directly translates to “bend” in French. These bent catheter tips are used in conjunction with catheter tubing. While often the tips of catheters are straight, coudé catheter tips are used when a person’s anatomy does not allow for the passage of a straight tip due to a blockage. 


See If You Qualify For Catheters Covered By Insurance

Why are Bent Tip Catheters Used Over Other Styles?

Image showing smiling man

With all the different types of catheters and catheter tips, how is it determined that a coudé catheter tips is necessary? While your doctor or healthcare professional will help determine which is best for you, coudé catheters are most often used for men to help bypass blockages they may have in their urethra.

A variety of medical factors and conditions can warrant the use of a coudé catheter, but some of the most common reasons are:

  • False urethral or stoma passages
  • Pelvic radiation
  • History of prostate surgery
  • History of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
  • History of urethral traumas
  • Atrophic vagina in females

Different Types of Coudé Catheters

Coudé catheters are a subcategory of intermittent catheters, but there are also several different versions of coudé catheters; these can include:

Olive Tip: When there’s a “false passage” situation in the urethra due to trauma, an Olive tipped coudé catheter is often used. Olive tips are rounded with a curve; this allows for smoother catheter passage without the possibility of it catching and causing injury.

Tiemann Tip: When there’s a narrower passage, Tiemann coudé catheters are helpful. Tiemann tips are tapered, longer, and are generally more flexible, which makes them perfect for navigating blockages more comfortably.

Tapered Tip: The curve on tapered tip coudé catheters is shorter and more pronounced. This type of catheter tip is useful in situations where patients have conditions such as prostate enlargement.

Using Bent Tip Catheters

Patient and doctor having a conversation

Your physician or healthcare professional will help train you on using coudé 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 coudé catheter as complications can occur with improper use. Complications of catheter usage can include:

  • Bladder stones
  • Injury to your urethra
  • Kidney infections
  • Blood infections
  • Kidney damage
  • Bladder cancer
  • Blood in the urine
It’s also important that you watch for various indications of problems while using urinary catheters. Symptoms, such as the ones listed below, can indicate infection, clogging, or other underlying 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

Are Coudé Catheters Covered by My Insurance?

When prescribed by a medical professional and deemed medically necessary, coudé 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 coudé catheter questions and can help determine if your insurance will help cover the cost. Give us a call at 800-319-2336 today.

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