This post was reviewed by our Director of Clinical Excellence and Oversight.
The coude catheter is specifically designed to maneuver around obstructions or blockages in the urethra. Coude is the French word for “bend” or “elbow,” and coude catheters are slightly bent at the tip which helps them move past a blockage.
Coude catheters can come in many French sizes and styles, including straight, Foley, red rubber, and even closed systems.
How a Coude Catheter Works
Coude catheters work just like other types of catheters. The catheter is inserted through the urethra and into the bladder, where small openings called eyelets allow urine to flow out of the body. The coude tip is positioned so that it can easily move around blockages or narrower parts of the urethra. Most coude catheters have an indicator, such as a colored striped or raised surface, that shows the position of the coude tip.
Types of Coude Catheter Tips
There are three basic tips that a coude catheter can have. Each tip is made to address a specific blockage problem a person may encounter. Which tip is needed is determined by a doctor. Here are the types of tips and what they do:
Olive tips have a larger, rounded ends that are shaped like a sphere. This helps widen narrow urethras as well prevent the catheter from getting stuck on smaller obstructions.
Tiemann tips tend to be longer and more narrow than other coude catheters. This helps the catheter pass through particularly tight or narrow spots in the urethra.
Tapered tips are the most common coude tip used. They aren’t as narrow as the Tiemman tips or as rounded as olive tips, and can handle most kinds of blockage or obstruction needs.
Types of Coude Catheters
Coude catheters are available in many different styles and designs. Here are some of the most common ones you’ll find:
Foley catheters are designed for long-term use, usually a month at a time. They’re made with a special inflatable balloon that helps keep the catheter in place during use.
Red Rubber Catheters
Red Rubber catheters are made of red rubber latex instead of soft plastic. They’re a type of intermittent catheter, which means they should be used once then thrown away.
100% Silicone Catheters
100% Silicone catheters are made entirely out of silicone and contain no latex. They are a type of Foley catheter, and come in both two or three-way styles.
Coated catheters are latex, vinyl, or silicone catheters that have been coated with another substance or material. Different coatings are used for different purposes, such as fighting infections or helping prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI).
Who Uses a Coude Catheter?
Although coude catheters can be prescribed to women, they’re usually used by men who are experiencing some kind of blockage or obstruction in the urethra. This could be caused by an enlarged prostate, swelling from a recent surgery, or other situation that narrows the urethra.
Insurance Coverage of Coude Catheters
Most insurance plans cover coude catheters, including Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance. Typically, a doctor must send paperwork to the insurance company explaining why the coude tip is needed.
The number of coude catheters you can get depends on medical necessity and your insurance plan.
**To learn about Medicare coverage of all urology products,
visit our Guide to Medicare Coverage of Urology Supplies.
Getting Coude Catheters
Whether you’re ordering catheters for the first time or are frustrated by your current provider, our team of experts will make your experience as smooth as possible.
At HCD, we make getting coude catheters as fast and easy as possible. Orders take just minutes to compete and are usually at your door within 48 hours of being shipped. Don’t worry about the paperwork; we take care of everything, including billing your insurance and working with your doctor to obtain any required documents.