Urinary Catheterization

What Is It?

In urinary catheterization, a catheter (hollow tube) is inserted into the bladder to drain or collect urine. There are two main types of urinary catheterization: indwelling catheterization and clean intermittent catheterization (CIC).

Indwelling catheterization
In this type of catheterization, one end of the catheter remains inside the bladder. A small, inflated balloon at the tip of the catheter inside the bladder keeps the end of the catheter from slipping out. Urine flows from the bladder through the catheter and collects in a drainage bag. If the patient is not bedridden, this drainage bag can be worn on the leg, where it can be hidden under a skirt or slacks. If the patient is bedridden, the drainage bag usually is attached to the lower portion of the hospital bed (near the floor). This position allows gravity to help the urine drain.

An indwelling catheter can be used for short-term or long-term care.

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