Main content

    Health Information

    Urinary Catheter

    Urinary Catheter

    A urinary catheter is a small, flexible tube that can be inserted through the urethra and into the bladder, allowing urine to drain. The urethra is the tube that carries urine outside the body from the bladder.

    A urinary catheter may be used for someone who is unable to urinate or who has difficulty moving and getting to the bathroom. It is also used to collect a urine sample from someone who is very ill or unable to provide a clean-catch urine specimen. Catheterization reduces the risk that the sample will be contaminated.

    Last Revised: March 5, 2012

    Author: Healthwise Staff

    Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & J. Curtis Nickel, MD, FRCSC - Urology

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

    1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.