A silicone catheter is just one of several types of catheters on the market today, but it has a special quality that makes it stand out in a crowded field of catheterization products. Flexible, safe, and easy to mold, silicone has become a popular choice in the medical community for a wide range of prosthetics and equipment. The most common image of silicone is its use for manufacturing breast implants. Less famous, but equally important is the silicone catheter, which is extremely important to millions of people suffering from urinary incontinence and bladder control problems. It may not get the same press coverage as other devices, but its importance in treating urinary related issues is worthy of a front-page headline to those that rely on them.

The basic types of catheters are straight, Coudé, and Foley as well as external catheters like condom catheters. Each of these has a special purpose and all can be found made from silicone in addition to the normal plastic, latex, and even Teflon. So why silicone at all? The reason is duration of catheterization. Intermittent catheterization is the process whereby a Silicone Cathetercatheter is inserted to drain the bladder and then withdrawn. This may be repeated as needed, but the cath is never left in the bladder for any significant length of time. Normally, a straight catheter made of plastic accomplishes this unless an enlarged prostate or other difficulty call for a cuved Coudé catheter. A longer process is the indwelling catheter where the cath is inserted into the bladder and remains for several days to a few weeks. It is not uncommon for latex to be used unless the patient has allergies. Finally, the most severe type of bladder problems calls for a long-term indwelling catheter and this is where silicone really shines.

Long-term catheterization means the cath is left in place for two to three months at a time. During this time, the salts in urine can crystallize around the catheter opening leading to severe encrustation and blockage. In study after study, a silicone catheter has outperformed plastic and latex by a wide margin in preventing encrustation. This makes for a healthier patient due to proper urinary flow and it also means fewer cath changes, which reduce the chance of trauma to the urethral area.

There is no compromise of quality of performance or function with a silicone catheter, either. These devices are manufactured to the strictest of medical tolerances. The multiple lumen Foley-style can inflate to stay positioned in the bladder and also deliver medicine to the body and urine from the bladder just as well or better than any other catheter on the market. The reduction in encrustation as well as the guaranteed performance makes this catheter a popular choice with clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and even home health nurses. Silicone is not an expensive material and is widely available. The difference in cost in minimal.

If you or someone you love is suffering from severe bladder problems due to a temporary problems (swollen prostate, surgery, infection) or a more permanent condition due to spinal injury or severe urinary tract infections or other trauma, ask if a silicone catheter can make a difference. Many people have even made the switch from adult diapers to a straight catheter. Catheters come in a wide range of gauges and styles, which provide an appropriate and comfortable fit as well as great care. Ask your urologist or primary care physician if a silicone catheter can improve the comfort and lessen the number of changes needed for long-term catheterization.For many people, long-term catheterization may mean years or decades of use. This time needs to be as comfortable and as healthy as possible.