Silicone in Catheters

Silicone catheters are much safer than latex

Conveen Optima Male External CathetersSilicone is one of the most recent additions to improvements in catheters for those with urinary incontinence. They are drainage systems for people who have bladder control problems. The earliest forms of those tools were made from wood or even metal. The introduction of plastic ones quickly led to the manufacturing of their three commonest materials: silicone, Teflon, and latex. Currently, silicone catheters have proven to be the best, though more expensive, choice.

Modern day products have been made as Latex and silicon. However, Latex’s adverse effects on those with urinary incontinence became well known. Numerous studies have placed the ones that are made from Latex as five times more likely to cause allergic reactions than ones that are made from silicone. They ran the risk of causing Bladder Cancer in patients, of which Teflon was responsible for both silicone and Teflon combined. Latex is now considered as a material with a high potential of causing allergies, leading to the term of establishments who are “latex-safe.” The use of Latex as an internal bladder drainage showed it to be only thirty percent as effective as silicone in emptying the bladder. However, many patients still risk using it due to its higher affordability on the market.

Silicone is rubber-like compounds that are used in sealants and artificial replacements as well. Silicone is highly biocompatible and resistant to buildups of germs and infected urine. They have good chemical and thermal stability. This has established silicone as a widely used biomaterial in surgery, and as transplants.  Silicone has an increased chance to be more compatible with the body than other biomaterials. Silicone is among the lowest-risk materials for infections and illnesses currently, above Teflon and latex in treating urinary incontinence. This is due to the superior performance it demonstrates in long term usage. It outperforms both latex and Teflon both in the low risk chance of adverse side effects, and ability to satisfactorily empty the patient’s bladder, preventing buildups of urine and waste.

A buildup from long term use of catheters may result in encrustation. This is when the tube obstructs the bladder, causing a buildup of salt that blocks the flow of urine that may result in severe pain. Evidence about the cause of encrustation related to the urinary devices has remained inconclusive due to their different types of shape, sizes, brands, and materials that went into making them. But the strong recommendation among doctors and health experts are using silicone has shown fewer encrustations in patients than its latex counterpart.

Silicone has shown a decreased risk in other side effects. This includes but is not limited to decreasing potential for bacterial buildup, chance of nosocomial infections, and chance of premature balloon deflation. Scientists warn, however, that all of these run the risk of causing dangerous side effects. A healthy diet, active lifestyle, and good sleep pattern are important in preventing and improving patients inflicted by urinary continence. However, the general consensus among many hospitals is that choosing silicone is worth the extra money.

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