Treatment options for urinary catheterisation 

Treatment
Pros
Cons
Intermittent catheters
Catheters that are temporarily inserted into the bladder and removed once the bladder is empty
  • lowest risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), blockages and leaks
  • don’t need to constantly have catheter in place or wear urine collection bags
  • everyday activities largely unaffected
  • can be taught to insert and remove the catheter yourself
  • changing catheters regularly can be inconvenient and you may find it fiddly or uncomfortable
  • repeated catheter insertions could damage the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) 
Indwelling catheters
Catheters that remain in place for several days or weeks and are held in position by a water-filled balloon in the bladder
  • avoids inconvenience of  inserting and removing catheters throughout the day
  • emptying or draining urine is relatively quick and simple
  • it may be possible to train you to remove and replace it yourself
  • higher risk of UTIs, blockages and leaks than intermittent catheters
  • catheter needs to be left in all the time
  • you may need to wear a urine collection bag all day and night
  • can make certain activities more difficult, such as having sex
  • you will need see a nurse when your catheter is scheduled to be changed if you haven’t been trained to do this yourself
Suprapubic catheters
A type of indwelling catheter that is inserted through a small opening made in the lower abdomen
  • avoids inconvenience of inserting and removing catheters throughout the day
  • emptying or draining urine is relatively quick and simple
  • easier to access and clean than urethral indwelling catheters
  • reduced risk of damage to the urethra or genitals
  • having sex is easier than with urethral indwelling catheters
  • less likely to be accidentally pulled out of position
  • allows a larger catheter to be used, meaning the risk of blockages may be lower than with urethral indwelling catheters
  • higher risk of UTIs, blockages and leaks than intermittent catheters
  • catheter needs to be left in place all the time
  • you may need to wear a urine collection bag all day and night
  • operation needed to fit it, which may involve a short hospital stay and leaves a small wound in your abdomen
  • small amounts of urine may still leak from the urethra
  • not always possible to train you to remove and replace it yourself, so you may need to see a nurse every few weeks for this to be done