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It's no secret that incontinence plagues countless people around the world. Fortunately, catheters are a solution that many people can turn to in the event that this happens. Catheters have been used for more than 3,500 years to drain the bladder if it fails to empty, and they're still used frequently today.

Despite the common nature of catheter usage, many people still have questions about them. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about catheters, answered for you.

What is a catheter?
As previously stated, a catheter is a tool used to help the bladder drain. It's a small rubber or plastic tube inserted into the urethra. All types of urinary catheters exist to help people with bladder issues. External catheters are common as well, with external male urinary catheters being one of the most commonly used. They can be purchased with many other kinds of urological supplies at urological supply stores.

How does it work?
Catheters are inserted into the bladder through the urethra and in most cases can be placed in the comfort of a patient's own home. It's important to consult a doctor before attempting self-catheterization, but once you've learned how to properly insert a catheter, it's simply a matter of being prepared for urine to drain once it reaches the bladder.

Why are catheters necessary?
If your bladder can't hold urine or retains urine, it's important to consider a catheter. A catheter helps completely drain your bladder so you can live and function comfortably. If urine is retained in the bladder, it can cause serious health issues.

Do catheters cause complications?
As with any medical procedure, there are certain risks involved. The most common complication of catheters is urinary tract infection. It's normal to feel slight discomfort the first few times a catheter is inserted, but it should become easier with repeated use.

If you think you need a catheter, don't hesitate to call your doctor. They can direct you to the correct urological supply store as well as help diagnose the root of the issue.