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Five Common Questions on Foley Catheters

Hearing that you or a loved one will need to be fitted with a foley catheter can be daunting; raising many questions. Here we tackle the most common questions that people have on foley catheters, providing you with all the answers in one place.

1) What is a Foley Catheter Used For?

What is a Foley Catheter?

A foley catheter is a soft, hollow tube, usually made from silicone or latex, which is inserted into the bladder via the urethra. Sometimes foley catheters will be inserted directly into the bladder via an incision made through the abdominal wall, known as suprapubic catheterisation.

2) What is the Difference Between an Intermittent Catheter & a Foley Catheter?

What is the difference between an intermittent and foley catheter?

Both intermittent and foley catheters are inserted into the bladder to drain urine. The difference is that an intermittent catheter is removed as soon as the bladder is emptied whereas a foley catheter remains in place. Foley catheters have balloons which are inflated with water or glycerine after insertion to keep them in place and prevent them falling out. Foley catheters are then connected to a catheter bag which allow for continuous drainage of urine.

3)  How Long Should a Foley Catheter be Left in Place?

How long can a foley catheter stay in place?

There are two types of foley catheters; short-term and long-term. Short-term foley catheters can be left in place for between 1-3 weeks whilst a long-term catheter can be left in place for up to three months. You will need to check the manufacturer’s guidance to determine if the catheter is designed for short or long-term use. The GB All Silicone Foley Catheter is designed for long-term use.

4) Why Would Someone Need a Foley Catheter?

Why would someone need a foley catheter?

There are many reasons why some people are unable to empty their bladder by passing urine. In some instances, the need for a catheter may be short-term, i.e., following surgery or if you have an epidural in childbirth. Some people have health conditions that cause them to retain urine whilst others may be immobile or bedridden.

5) Is Having a Foley Catheter Painful?

Is a foley catheter painful?

The thought of having a foley catheter inserted can be off putting but you should be reassured that your healthcare professional will be very experienced at performing catheterisation and will make the process as comfortable as possible. Catheter gels will be used to lubricate the catheter and many contain a numbing or anaesthetising agent, which will minimise any discomfort. Whilst the catheter is in-situ, it may feel strange but you will get used to the feeling over time. It is important to use a catheter fixation device to prevent the catheter being pulled, which could cause severe discomfort, pain & urethral trauma.

If you found this article useful you may find our “What is a Foley Catheter Used For & How Does it Work” article of interest

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Five Common Questions on Foley Catheters