A straight catheter allows for easy and complete evacuation of the bladder when conditions do not allow for traditional evacuation. This helps to relieve pressure, improve comfort and reduce the risk of infection or kidney and bladder damage.
Catheters are made in a variety of formats. The Straight Catheter and Foley catheter designs are the most common. Simply put, a straight catheter is mainly used as a method to provide rapid relief. It’s a quick “in and out” catheter that is not meant to be long term. Foley catheters, on the other hand, have a balloon on the end that, when inflated, can remain inside the bladder to provide continuous relief to the patient. Both Foley and Straight Catheters are made of materials that are safe for the body. They are made of different polymers such as latex, silicon or even teflon.
Three Major Categories of Catheters
- Indwelling catheters: These catheters are held in place internally and used for long-term bladder evacuation.
- Condom catheters: These catheters use an external shrouding and reservoir to collect urine and transfer to a holding container.
- Intermittent Catheters: These catheters are intended for short term use and typically discarded after each bladder evacuation. One example is the straight urinary catheter.
In many of these situations, straight catheter insertion is something that can be safely taught and performed with professional instruction and guidance. This allows patients to enjoy relief while still maintaining a level of freedom and independence other catheter types might not offer. As with any medical implement that enters the body, extreme care and caution should be taken with straight catheter use to prevent infection or other complications.
Straight Catheter Insertion Process
If you are not comfortable performing a straight catheter insertion, contact a qualified medical professional immediately for assistance. While usage may vary depending on the type of catheter and personal circumstances, general usage and straight catheter insertion instructions are as follows:
- Gather all needed equipment and supplies. This should include the straight catheter, cleaning supplies and a water soluble lubricant.
- Clean your hands and straight catheter insertion site using warm soap and water.
- Apply lubricant to the straight catheter.
- Locate the insertion site.
- Place the straight catheter against the insertion site and apply gentle pressure. Urine should begin to flow. Insertion should extend no more than two to three inches.
- Once flow has stopped, remove the catheter slowly.
- Wash the insertion site, your hands and the straight catheter with warm soap and water after performing the catheter process. Reusable catheters should be air dried and placed in a cool, clean and secure location. Disposable catheters should be disposed of immediately.
The uses for catheters are vast. In many cases, the specific situation and intended period of use will determine the type of catheter chosen. While the straight catheter is easy enough for the patient to use themselves, they can require frequent insertions. Oftentimes, catheter use can exceed four times per day so depending on the circumstances, one may prefer using a foley catheter. These catheters are secured in place using a small air bladder to allow for regular drainage without the need for insertion throughout the day. When choosing whether a straight catheter is best for your needs, discuss the options with your doctor or nurse to make sure that you have the best solution for your needs.