The Difference Between Foley and Straight Catheters


Every medical professional needs to understand the foley catheter vs straight catheter differences. These are very helpful because they will help you identify in which situation you can use a certain catheter. Understanding that will make the process better and more convenient, since you can easily ensure that you are using the right option to suit your needs. If you always wanted to know the differences between foley catheters and straight catheters, all you have to do is to read onward.

What is a foley catheter?

The foley catheter is a dedicated, indwelling urinary catheter. It’s named after Frederic Foley who designed this unit. This is a flexible, hollow tube that’s inserted into the bladder. It’s a very good product for those that are unable to empty the bladder property. Either there are urinary problems, or the person has anesthesia and can’t control the urine flow. The foley catheter makes it easy to drain urine from the bladder. All the urine is acquired in a bag and then it’s emptied and cleaned up for reuse.

Normally, the foley catheter have a small balloon at one of the ends which is inflated inside the bladder. The main focus here is to maintain the catheter in place. This is not a product for short term use, it’s mostly suitable for long term use by patients that are unable to go to the toilet on their own. Thanks to the balloon mentioned above, the foley catheter can stay in place for multiple days or even weeks. The doctor will choose how much time a patient actually needs the foley catheter in place.

What is a straight catheter?

The straight catheter is an intermittent catheter. It’s the original type of urinary catheter. These products are not coated, so you will need to lubricate them manually before you use them. One of the preferred lubrication methods is lubricating jelly, which can be either in sterile packets or flip-top tubes. These straight catheters are straight tubes that don’t involve the use of a balloon, which is the case for the foley catheter. This is the type of product that delivers immediate drainage for the bladder.

As a result, this is not something you can focus on for long term use. The way it works is you insert the catheter into the bladder and drain the urine in a dedicated bag. Then the straight catheter gets removed. Most of the time, doctors or nurses will use the straight catheter because there’s a urinary tract blockage, or the patient can’t go to the toilet temporarily.


As you can see, the foley catheter vs straight catheter differences are not that many. It all comes down to when you need a catheter in the first place. The straight catheter is very good in those cases when you just need some fast bladder drainage. If you want long term assistance, then the foley catheters are much better. It's important to listen to the doctor, as he will be able to guide and assist you through the entire process!