The main difference between an intermittent catheter and a Foley catheter is the way they are used and the duration they remain in the patient’s body.
An intermittent catheter is a straight, flexible tube that is inserted into the bladder through the urethra to empty it. After the bladder is emptied, the catheter is removed. Intermittent catheters are typically used on a short-term basis, such as for patients who have difficulty emptying their bladder or need to monitor urine output.
A Foley catheter, also known as an indwelling catheter, is a longer, flexible tube that is inserted through the urethra into the bladder and left in place to continuously drain urine. The catheter has a balloon at the end that is inflated with sterile water once it is in the bladder, to keep the catheter in place. Foley catheters are typically used for longer-term drainage, such as for patients who are bedridden or unable to urinate on their own.
Intermittent catheters are often preferred over Foley catheters because they carry a lower risk of infection and other complications. However, intermittent catheterization may require more frequent trips to the bathroom or a more hands-on approach from the patient or caregiver.
Foley catheters are typically used in patients who require long-term catheterization, such as those with spinal cord injuries, severe illness, or who are recovering from surgery. Foley catheters require more careful monitoring and care to reduce the risk of infection and other complications.
It’s important for patients to work closely with their healthcare provider to determine the best type of catheterization for their individual needs and to follow proper hygiene practices to reduce the risk of infection or other complications.