Foley Catheter Guide: Tips and Insights

Foley Catheter Guide: Tips and Insights

4 minute read

Foley catheters, or indwelling catheters, are essential medical devices for draining urine from the bladder.

This comprehensive foley catheter guide will delve into what Foley catheters are, their unique features, the catheterization process, and proper care procedures. Whether you're a healthcare professional or an individual seeking to understand Foley catheters better, we've got you covered.

What Is a Foley Catheter?

A Foley catheter is a thin, sterile tube created for the purpose of inserting into the bladder to aid in the process of urine drainage. What sets it apart is a small balloon at its tip, filled with sterile water, which anchors the catheter inside the bladder, preventing it from slipping out. The other end of the Foley catheter is connected to a drainage bag, collecting the expelled urine.

Uses of Foley Catheters:

Foley catheters play a crucial role in various medical scenarios and conditions including:

  • Nerve-Related Bladder Dysfunctions: They aid individuals with conditions causing bladder dysfunction due to nerve-related issues.
  • Obstruction of the Urethra: In anatomical conditions like prostate hypertrophy or prostate cancer, Foley catheters help alleviate urinary blockages.
  • Urine Output Monitoring and Diagnostic Specimens: Healthcare providers use Foley catheters to monitor urine output precisely and collect specimens for diagnostic purposes.

How Are Foley Catheters Different?

Foley catheters stand out for several reasons:

  • Long-Term Use: They can remain in place for an extended period, making them suitable for chronic conditions.
  • Risk of Infections: While effective, Foley catheters carry a higher risk of causing infections than other catheter types.
  • Comfort: Other catheters, like external condom catheters, offer more comfort but require frequent changes.

Amsino AMSure 2-Way Silicone Coated Foley Catheters - Box of 10

Amsino AMSure 2-Way Silicone Coated Foley Catheters - Box of 10


Amsino AMSure 2-Way Silicone Coated Foley Catheters - Box of 10 Amsino AMSure 2-Way Silicone Coated Foley Catheters are durable and flexible which help improve patient comfort. The silicone coating helps to decrease friction and make the catheter more glide-able, which… read more

The Catheterization Process:

Before the insertion of a Foley catheter, specific steps should be followed:

  • Genital Area Hygiene: Maintain cleanliness and avoid harsh chemicals in the genital area.
  • Appropriate Attire: Wear loose-fitting clothing to ensure comfort during catheterization.
  • Different Catheters for Different Patients: Male catheters are generally longer than female catheters due to differences in anatomy.
  • Patient Positioning: Male patients are catheterized while lying supine, while female patients assume a frog-leg position.

The catheterization process involves:

  • Lubricating the Foley catheter with water-soluble jelly.
  • Cleaning the insertion area.
  • Gently inserting the catheter through the urethral opening.

The balloon inside the bladder keeps the catheter in place. Some discomfort is normal, but unbearable discomfort should be reported to a healthcare professional.

There is a Youtube video by a Registered Nurse Sarah, that demonstrates how to prepare a Foley Catheter kit. She does have an update footnote that it is no longer recommended to inflate or pre-test the balloon.

Foley Catheter Removal:

Catheter removal should be performed by healthcare professionals, except for individuals who have received proper training for long-term catheter use. The correct and safe removal process involves the following:

  • Emptying the urine bag.
  • Gathering necessary supplies.
  • Gently pull out the catheter.
  • Disposing of it correctly.

Thorough handwashing is essential throughout the procedure.

Discomfort and Complications:

Catheterization can cause discomfort, but healthcare providers apply anesthetic gel to minimize it. Patients may adapt to the discomfort over time. However, any signs of complications, such as unusual bleeding, abdominal pain, or signs of infection, should be reported promptly to healthcare professionals.

Caring for a Foley Catheter:

Proper care and maintenance are crucial for long-term catheter users. Healthcare providers offer guidelines on supplies, infection prevention, and when to seek professional assistance for complications.

In case of Foley catheter-related complications, always consult your healthcare professional promptly to ensure your well-being. Understanding Foley catheters and their management is vital for individuals relying on them for urinary drainage.


Foley catheters, or indwelling catheters, are essential tools for urinary drainage in various medical situations. This guide has covered their design, uses, differences, and the necessary care procedures. 

Key takeaways include:

  • The importance of hygiene and positioning before catheterization.
  • The need for professional assistance during removal.
  • The significance of promptly addressing any discomfort or complications.

For those relying on Foley catheters, proper care and adherence to healthcare provider guidelines are crucial for well-being.

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