Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a Jaques Catheter?

A. This is a urinary catheter which does not remain in the bladder after catheterization. It is usually made from rubber latex or PVC. Length is approx. 12”. It has a single eye and is available in various gauges.

Q. What is a self-retaining catheter?

A. A urinary catheter which can remain in the bladder and is held in place by a balloon which prevents it falling out. The catheter provides continuous drainage when attached to one of the numerous types of drainage bag available. A spigot can be inserted into the draining end of the catheter and released at regular intervals. Made from latex, pvc, silicone etc; It is available in various gauges with balloon sizes 5mls-30mls.

Q. What does FG mean?

A, FG stands for French Gauge and is the most common measurement used for catheter sizes. Named after the French instrument maker Charriere who lived in the 19th Century. The system measures the diameter of the catheter in millimetres. One Charriere (CH or FG) unit = 1/3mm, so that a 12CH is 4.0mm in diameter. Most catheters are available in even sizes only eg FG12-FG14 etc.

Q. What is a FOLEY self-retaining catheter?

A. A Foleys catheter is an indwelling flexible tube retained in the bladder by a balloon for the purpose of continuous drainage. In its basic form it has two interior channels, one for drainage and one for the balloon inflation. Another type the Foley-Stewart has a third channel for bladder irrigation.
A prefilled Bardcomatic catheter is a self retaining Foleys catheter but the balloon is pre-filled with the correct volume of sterile water. To inflate this type of catheter the clip on the inflation channel is released once the catheter is in position and the balloon inflates. No syringe is required to inflate the pre-filled version. A syringe is needed to inflate the standard Foley catheter.

Q. Do catheter lengths vary?

A. Yes. The most common lengths are Male – at approx 16”. Standard –
Suitable for male and female at approx 14” and Female at approx. 9”.

Q .What catheter size should be used?

A.The correct size is the smallest size that is capable of providing adequate drainage. For initial catheterization FG12 or FG14 would be a reasonable choice.

Q. What is the urethra and how long is it?

A. The urethra is the canal through which urine passes from the bladder. In women this is usually 1,5” and in men approx. 8”.

Q. How are catheters sterilised?

A. Disposable catheters are now being used in increasing quantities and these are discarded after use. They are supplied in sterile packs. The penalty of insufficient sterilization is bladder infection and such methods as boiling for 5minutes or chemical disinfection should not be relied upon.

Q. How long could a catheter stay in the bladder?

A. This varies depending on the type. A 100% silicone catheter could stay in position for up to three months if no problems were encountered. A latex catheter would be considered a short term catheter and would last approx. two weeks.

Q. What type of enema equipment should I use?

A. The Higginson syringe is probably the easiest to start with because of its pump action, but a Fountain Douche or Gravity Feed enema is quite straightforward to use.

Q. What position should I use if the enema is to be self-administered?

A. Whichever is the most comfortable eg. lying down, standing or squatting.

Q. What solutions can I use when administering an enema?

A. Plain water, soap & water, olive oil or glycerine are all used.

Q. How much enema solution should I use?

A. Normal quantities vary depending on the individual but between one and two pints is fairly average, although more can be used.

Q. Is the temperature of the enema solution important?

A. Yes. If administered too hot, damage to the lining of the rectum may occur. If the solution is too cold it will be ineffective. The ideal temperature is 100 F eg just above blood heat.

Q. Is it necessary to lubricate the apparatus before use?

A. It is advisable to use KY Jelly or similar lubricant.

Q. How long is the rectum?

A. The rectum is about 6” in length.

Q. What if I have difficulty inserting the rectal tube?

A. No force should be used. If the anal sphincter is tightly closed or haemorrhoids are present, it may be necessary to dilate the sphincter before administering the enema using a finger protected by a rubber glove and lubricated with Surgilube.

Q. How frequently can enemas be administered?

A. Enemas can be administerd daily if necessary although once or twice a week should be adequate.

Q. What complications can occur?

A. (1) Faintness and collapse due to the distension of the rectum with fluid.
(2) An enema rash due to a soap allergy.
(3) Possible perforation of the rectal wall if a rigid nozzle is used forceably.

The above complications are extremely rare and should not occur if commensense is used. If at all worried then medical advice should be sought.