When A Doctor Recommends Intermittent Catheterization

Male physician talking with patient

A doctor might recommend intermittent catheterization for a patient when the bladder does not empty completely on its own. Intermittent catheterization drains urine from the bladder through a small tube inserted in the urethra.  

“Keeping a patient’s bladder empty is recommended because it helps bladder and kidney health – and it helps prevent urinary tract infections,” said Cheryl Hutton, a wound, ostomy and continence nurse with CHC Solutions, Inc.  

A healthcare professional chooses the patient’s size and type of intermittent catheter, as well as the frequency of catheterization, Hutton said. That clinician will consider three basic characteristics – size, length and tip type.  


– Catheters are sized in “French sizes,” which refers to the diameter of the catheter. A larger French size means a larger diameter of the catheter. 


– Male catheters are usually 16 inches and female catheters typically range from 6-8 inches. Pediatric catheters usually range from 6-12 inches in length. 


– Catheters have a straight or coudé tip. The coudé tip is bent at a 45-degree angle; they are recommended when straight-tip catheters do not work. 

For more information, customers can email Hutton at clinicians@chcsolutions.com

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.