Hydrophilic Catheters 101

You may have heard the word “hydrophilic catheter,” and your doctor may have even mentioned some of the attributes of this sort of emerging technology device. But are you also left with any concerns about how to use a hydrophilic catheter? Or maybe you are curious about what the advantages of using this form  could be for you. We at VitaMed make it a point to be a source of information accessible to you, so we’re going to help shed some light on this issue.


Knowing a Hydrophilic Catheter is

The straight catheter, which is most frequently manually lubricated with a distinct form of sterile lubrication jelly, has been the most common type of catheter for many years. While this is a fantastic choice that is tried and tested, some individuals still encounter some pain, strain, and discomfort during the catheterization phase due to the lubrication peeling off of the catheter during penetration or withdrawal.


Hydrophilic catheters have a coating of a polymer that attaches to the catheter’s surface. This absorbs and connects the water to the catheter when the polymer coating is immersed in water. The body of the catheter becomes smooth and slippery. Upon penetration into the urethra, this slippery surface remains intact and retains lubrication across the urethra’s length. As the catheter is inserted to reduce the risk of urethral injury, the hydrophilic coating is designed to minimize friction.

It is proposed that they are more sterile and, therefore, less likely to cause infection since hydrophilic catheters do not need manual lubrication. Most hydrophilic catheters are prepackaged in clean water, or when the catheter is ready to use, there is a pouch of sterile water that is broken and released into the catheter box.

Hydrophilic catheters have been developed in part and provide a more convenient and fast solution for catheterization on the go. These catheters have a pre-lubrication coating layer bound to the surface of the tube itself so that it will not slough off until the lubrication is enabled.

Water or sterile saline solution that may be present in the catheter package itself or a separate foil package triggers hydrophilic catheters. The pre-lubricated coating absorbs moisture during the activation cycle and provides a smooth, slick surface, ideal for a soft and relaxed catheterization experience. Upon insertion into the urethra, the coating layer remains intact and ensures the lubrication of the urethra across its length.


How do I use a hydrophilic catheter?

Water or sterile saline solution that may be present in the catheter package itself or a separate foil package triggers hydrophilic catheters.

To release the water and activate the catheter’s hydrophilic properties, burst the packet. Fold the water packet in the center by applying pressure with your thumb and forefingers. 

Give approximately 15 to 30 seconds for the solution to thoroughly coat the catheter and activate the hydrophilic coating.

It should be ready for you to insert into the bladder at this stage, as you would usually do.


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