Some scenarios when the use of a Foley catheter might be necessary are:
- A major surgical procedure involving anesthesia where the patient will be unaware of the need to urinate.
- A patient in recovery that may be too weak or sick to safely make it to the restroom to urinate on their own.
- A chronic condition such as urinary incontinence where they are unable to control bladder leakage.
- Spinal trauma which may cause bladder dysfunction due to nerve-related damage.
Foley Catheter SizesFoley catheters are measured in terms of French units (Fr.) and range in size from 8Fr. to 26Fr. in diameter. Each Fr. unit is equal to 0.33mm (0.013″ or 1/77″) in diameter. Determining the proper French size of the indwelling catheter will depend upon the age of the person the Foley catheter will be inserted into. A child, for instance, will require the use of a smaller Fr. size Foley catheter due to their anatomy being much smaller than that of a grown adult. It is also common for the Fr. size to increase when a person uses an indwelling catheter often and for extended periods of time. Another reason a larger Fr. size is used is for adequate drainage due to blood clots if there is blood in the patient’s urine. Great precaution should be taken when choosing the proper Foley catheter size, as one that is too large will risk damage to the urethra and cause pain and trauma to the urethral tissue. On the other hand, choosing a Foley catheter that is too small will result in potential leakage and kinking. Different sizes of the Foley catheters are identified by color-coded ports at the balloon inflation site for easy identification. As previously mentioned, all catheters require a physician’s prescription so the correct size of the Foley catheter that is right for you will be determined by them. This Foley catheter sizes chart shows the corresponding colors and their individual French sizes.