And Foley Makes Three…

Pete Health Guide
  • Perhaps a better title for this post would be "Foley Times Three" because instead of having one Foley for two or three weeks, I had three!


    Foley has always come to visit me after I have had my Botox treatment for urge incontinence. When my procedure was complete, I heard the resident ask for a 16F coude catheter. (F is an abbreviation for "French" which to code used to size catheters). I quickly ask for a 14F because they are smaller and therefore a bit more comfortable, if only minimally!


    Just a few days after the Botox was injected I went to see my family doctor (I could not see my urologist; she's over a hundred miles away;) with a fever of 104.0. My family doctor suspected that Foley was causing an infection. She gave me shot of Rocephin and a prescription for an oral antibiotic and told me if the fever wasn't much better in a few days to go to the emergency room and let them evaluate me. Fortunately the fever came down. While it didn't go away completely, it was not 104!

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    While Foley has always been difficult, he was much more irritating this time. The Foley the doctor put in was yellow, made out of a fairly soft latex rubber. I tolerated this for about 10 days, and finally, out of desperation, I took it out myself. I was unable to void, so, after trying for more than an hour, I was finally able to put another back in myself. The new one is made out of red latex rubber, and while it was not pleasant to have, it was not as irritating as the yellow one.


    I kept this one in until my follow-up and voiding test at my urologist's office. A voiding test is done to determine if I can "tinkle" on my own, and if so, how well. The test is done as follows: 

    • My bladder is drained through Foley to make sure it's empty.
    • 250 milliliters (approximately eight ounces) of saline is injected into my bladder.
    • Foley is removed (ouch!)
    • I try to void into container to see how much I get out. Fortunately the nurse steps out of the room for this part of the test.

    I was only able to void a few milliliters, even after drinking a couple of cups of water. Because I'm difficult to catheterize, the nurse and I made the decision to put another Foley back in for a week or so. The only type she had was another yellow one, the same type as the first one I had.


    Once again, Foley number three was very irritating!


    I sent an email to the customer service address of the manufacturer that made both Foley catheters (which I won't reveal here.)


    I received a response from a clinical specialist for the company. She was very helpful and understanding. She did not know why one Foley catheter would be more irritating than another, but she offered the following information:

    • The "yellow" Foley is made from a softer latex rubber and is more flexible;
    • The "red" Foley has an ingredient added to the rubber that makes it more rigid, and this also makes its surface harder and smoother.
    • She suggested I may be becoming allergic to latex, which can develop over time.
    • She also suggested that I ask my doctor to use a silicone catheter the next time, as there is no latex in it.

    At my follow-up with my doctor I brought up all of these issues and she also suspects I may be developing an allergy.


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    So, the next time I have Botox, I may come home with a "clear" Foley instead of red or yellow!

Published On: August 24, 2009