It would be hard-pressed to find a man who doesn’t cringe at the sight – or explanation – of Urethral catheters.  Catheters are used for a number of medical conditions and surgeries that make it difficult to urinate the “natural” way.  Many times, post-surgery incontinence or the inability to urinate can be an excruciatingly painful experience without catheters.  An internal Foley catheter makes it possible for the bladder to drain urine without the need of the muscles used to urinate.

What is a Foley Catheter?

A “Foley” catheter is a long, thing rubber or silicone tube that is inserted through the urethra into the bladder to drain urine.  At the end of the catheter is a little balloon that is inflated with sterile water once inside of the bladder.  The balloon helps hold the catheter in place by pressing against the sides of the bladder.  The end of the catheter comes out of the urethra and is connected to a drainage bag, which is either attached to the bed or attached to the leg.  A catheter leg bag or “urine bag” straps to the leg and makes it possible for the patient to walk and move freely

Why would I need one?
There are a number of reasons why a medical professional would recommend or use Foley catheters:

  1. Obtain a sterile urine sample
  2. Post-surgery incontinence
  3. Nighttime incontinence
  4. Enlarged prostate blocking the urine flow
  5. Neurological Problems

What does it feel like?
It seems strange and uncomfortable to put anything inside of them.  Inserting and inflating the balloon typically offers no pain and little discomfort.  Removing the catheter usually involves a small syringe deflating the balloon and draining the water and simply pulling it out.  This process is often a slight discomfort, but for the most part is painless.

All in all, don’t be too worried with getting a urethral catheter, especially right after surgery.  There’s little to fear and the benefits of catheters often outweigh the painful process of urinating.