A catheter is a soft and hollow tube inserted into the bladder. Its purpose is to help the urine drain from the bladder, and a nurse or doctor generally inserts them.
There are two locations to insert a catheter:
- Urethral catheters: these catheters are inserted through the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the bladder.
- Suprapubic catheter: these catheters are inserted through a small opening made in the lower abdomen.
Catheters also differ based on how long they remain in place. Intermittent catheters are temporarily inserted and then removed once the bladder is empty. In comparison, indwelling catheters stay in place for days or weeks.