Male and Female Catheters — What’s the Difference?

You probably heard of female and male catheters, but if you never had to live with one — we hope you just don’t know the struggle. Here’s the difference between them, why do people even need them in the first place, and how you should treat a catheter to make it less of an uncomfortable experience. Learn more about this topic and where to buy medical supplies on canmeddirect blog.

What is a Male Catheter?

A male catheter looks very similar to a common catheter, the one that’s used for intravenous medication. It’s a tube that is long and narrow with an opening at either end. It is inserted into the bladder through the urethra and serves to drain urine from the bladder.

The two ends of the catheter are open and covered in a dome-shaped fitting to protect them and allow for easy removal. This dome makes it easier for the doctor to push the catheter up into your urethra, something that can be difficult for some people. In most cases, your doctor will make a small incision in your skin and use this catheter to drain urine from your bladder while you’re having surgery. For the most part, the insertion and removal of this catheter is a clean and simple process.

What is a Female Catheter?

A female catheter looks very similar to a male one, but there are some major differences. The reason that women need female catheters is so that they can be connected to a drip. 

A female catheter is normally the same size as a male one and has two openings at both ends. One end is wide enough for the drip to be connected to it. One of the main reasons women use female catheters is because they are unable to urinate by themselves. 

What’s the Difference? 

The main differences between female catheters and male catheters are:

  • The length (female catheters are shorter);
  • And diameter (female catheters are wider). 

In addition, male catheters have a curved shape, unlike straight female catheters. This is due to the anatomical and physiological features of the structure of female and male urogenital systems.

Modern catheters are most often made of silicone. This chemically inert material has high biocompatibility, low surface tension, thermal stability and good hydrophobic properties. This material allows easy insertion and retrieval of the catheter, does not cause allergic reactions and prevents the deposition of salts in the catheter. The main disadvantage of this material is a rather high production cost.

Another common material for manufacturing catheters is latex. It is also a highly elastic and durable material, but it contains a variety of organic compounds that can cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, modern latex catheters are coated with silicone, which results in an optimal combination of manufacturing costs, physical properties of the material and its anti-allergic properties.

How to Care for Your Catheter (Regardless of Gender)

The good news is — it won’t affect your life by a lot. Patients with a urinary catheter can:

  • Drink their favourite beverages with no limits;
  • Lead a normal lifestyle; 
  • Take showers (not baths) and swim.

Note that irritation from salt water/chlorine in the external opening of the urethra is possible, causing discomfort.

Please, watch your drinking regimen: maintain the amount of fluids you drink as recommended by your doctor.

Here are some tips that will help you to go through the healing time easily: 

  • Empty the bladder bag every 3-4 hours (or as needed) and before showering. Do not overfill the box!
  • Change the urine bag every 2-3 days. Consult a physician for advice.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before changing the urinal and treat the area where the urinal is attached with any antiseptic solution.
  • You can add a special odor neutralizer (3-4 drops) to the urinal.
  • After replacing the urinal, make sure that the urine is flowing into it.
  • The used urinal can be rinsed with water, dried and used again the next time it is changed.
  • A special night urinal can be attached at night. They have a larger capacity so that you do not have to get up to drain the urine.

The Final Word

In short, female catheters are used to make life easier for women who cannot urinate by themselves and need to be connected to a drip. Male catheters are used as a urine drainage device. The differences between the two only refer to the size and the materials that they are made with. If you take proper care of the thing — you’ll be OK and will eventually remove it, to never wear again. 

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