Increase your knowledge of the terminology used around continence care and continence products

List of Terms

Words you may have heard, explained simply and clearly.


Refers to a tube or collapsible material within a urine collection device to help prevent urine from re-entering the tubing.

Applicator collar

Found on some Hollister penile sheaths, a plastic guide with notches for the thumb and forefinger to assist proper placement against the tip of the penis.

Aseptic intermittent catheterisation

The process of performing intermittent catheterisation using sterile equipment and inserting the catheter in a sterile way. This would include a sterile ready-to-use product that can be inserted with gloves using a no-touch technique (e.g., the Advance Plus intermittent catheter or a VaPro hydrophilic catheter).

Benzalkonium chloride (BZK)

An antimicrobial solution used for cleansing the urethral opening prior to inserting an intermittent catheter. Does not stain skin or clothing.


A collapsible balloon-like muscular organ that lies in the pelvis and functions to store and expel urine.

Bladder catheterisation

A procedure in which a catheter is passed through the urethra or stoma into the bladder, usually for the purpose of draining urine.

Bladder control

The ability to control urination.

Bladder diary

A printed or electronic form to keep track of when one urinates or leaks urine.

Catheter (urinary)

A special type of hollow tube inserted through the urethra or a stoma to the bladder to withdraw urine or instil medication.


The process of inserting a tube into the bladder to drain urine.

Clean intermittent catheterisation

The process of emptying the bladder using a clean intermittent catheter. It involves inserting and removing a catheter, typically several times a day.

Closed system

Refers to a no-touch catheter located within, or attached to, a urine collection bag. Some catheters are manipulated through the bag and guided through a protective tip as it is inserted into the urethra without being directly touched.

Closed system kit

Comprised of a closed system (catheter located within, or attached to, the urine collection bag) and sometimes other supplies.

Colour coded

On Hollister Incorporated straight intermittent catheters, the funnel ends are colour and size coordinated so catheters may be consistently ordered by size or funnel colour.


A device that secures the extension tubing to the catheter or urinary pouch system.


The ability to control the timing and process of urination and/or bowel movements.

Coudé tip

A slight bend manufactured in the tip of the catheter that makes insertion past the prostate easier for some men. Some products include a notch at the funnel end, or a guide stripe on the catheter, as a guide for alignment during insertion.

External condom catheter

Device that is secured externally with various adhesives to the penis shaft for the purpose of urine collection. The device must be connected with tubing to a urine collection bag.

External sphincter muscle

A round voluntary muscle surrounding the urethra that opens and closes to hold urine in or let it drain.

Extension tubing

Tubing that provides the connection between an external or indwelling catheter and a urine collection bag or leg bag. May also serve as a connection between an ostomy pouch or wound drainage collector. Typically made of latex or vinyl.


An oval-shaped hole in the insertion end of the catheter to facilitate drainage of urine from the bladder. Eyelets are usually two in number and may be across from each other or offset.

Female urinary pouch (FUP)

A cut-to-fit, one-piece vinyl pouch with a flexible synthetic barrier that is attached externally to the female urethral/vulva or perineum area. The pouch is usually connected to a bedside collection bag. An FUP is used for bed-bound female patients.

Firm catheter

Refers to lesser pliability of a urethral catheter.

Flexible catheter

Refers to greater pliability of a urethral catheter.

Flextend barrier

A skin barrier from Hollister Incorporated with special additives that achieve a stronger adhesive seal and are more resistant to breakdown from fluids. Skin-prepping agents are not recommended under Flextend skin barriers.

Foley catheter

A catheter that is inserted into the bladder through the urethra for continuous emptying of the bladder and is connected by tubing to a drainage bag.

French size

Abbreviated Fr, the measuring gauge for the outer diameter of a straight or indwelling catheter. 1 French = 1/3 mm


Coloured, non-insertion end of the intermittent catheter that allows for ease of fluid control.  Many manufacturers include colour on the funnel to correspond to the specific French size of the catheter.

Gel reservoir

A small, blue-coloured, lubricant-filled flexible device unique to Hollister Incorporated, which is built into the Advance and Advance Plus catheters. The catheter is lubricated as it passes through the blue gel reservoir on its way to the urethra.

Health history

A comprehensive look at a person's medical history, including information such as existing diseases, previous health problems, injuries, medications and surgical procedures.

Hydrophilic catheter

A catheter designed to be lubricated when in contact with sterile water or saline, which eases friction on the urethra upon insertion.


Loss of control of bowel and/or bladder function.

Indwelling catheter

A flexible tube that remains in the bladder continuously to drain urine. May be referred to as a Foley catheter.


A condition resulting from the presence of bacteria.

Inner flap

A thin, latex extra membrane inside Hollister Incorporated extended wear latex penile sheaths. The inner flap helps prevent urine undermining of the catheter adhesive.

Insertion stripe

A coloured line or a ridge that extends the length of the catheter, especially the coudé catheter, and serves as an alignment guide during insertion. On Hollister Incorporated products, a funnel notch provides this guide.

Intermittent catheter

A flexible tube that is used for emptying the bladder on a regular schedule. The tube is inserted and removed at regular time intervals and is not indwelling. Used for self-catheterisation.

Internal sphincter muscle

An involuntary muscle located at the bladder opening to the urethra.


Two bean-shaped organs that lie internally on either side of the spinal cord and whose purpose is to filter waste from the blood and to produce urine.

Kidney infection

A urinary tract infection that also involves the kidneys. Also called pyelonephritis.


A material made from natural rubber, which may cause allergic reactions. Red rubber catheters and some penile sheaths contain latex.

Leg bag

A flat plastic bag that attaches to the leg to collect urine from an indwelling catheter.

Leg bag straps

Fabric straps that hold a leg bag in place.


A water-soluble jelly applied to a catheter to allow for easier insertion.

Male external urinary pouch (MUP)

A cut-to-fit, one-piece pouch with an adhesive backing. An MUP is usually attached to a bedside collection bag and is used by men with limited mobility.


The opening of the urethra in both men and women.

Neurogenic bladder

An atonic or unstable bladder associated with a neurological condition, such as diabetes, stroke or spinal cord injury.

Neurogenic bowel dysfunction
Constipation or fecal incontinence associated with a chronic neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, or Parkinson’s disease.


The act of getting up during the night to urinate.


Not made from natural rubber; usually vinyl or silicone for catheters or plastic for collection bags. Minimises risk of allergic reaction to latex.

Olive tip

An oval-shaped catheter tip that makes it easier for a female user to find the urethral opening when catheterising.

Overactive bladder

A condition in which the bladder is squeezing down too frequently, causing a frequent urge to pass urine; may contribute to incontinence.

Overflow incontinence

The involuntary loss of urine occurring when the bladder is overfilled (overdistension of the bladder).

Pelvic floor muscles

Several small muscle groups that surround the urethra and rectum. They support the organs of the pelvis and help to maintain continence.

Prelubricated catheter

Refers to a catheter that is lubricated through means of activating a hydrophilic catheter or by passing through a gel reservoir, or a lubricated catheter in a closed system, or a catheter in packaging that contains a lubricant packet, which is ruptured to lubricate the catheter prior to opening the package.

Prostate gland

A small organ in males located below the neck of the bladder encircling the urethra.

Protective tip

A specially designed system on some intermittent catheters, which is inserted into the urethra to help reduce the introduction of bacteria into the urinary system by bypassing the first 15 mm of the distal urethra.


Povidone iodine solution, used as an antimicrobial disinfectant, applied to the urethral opening prior to catheter insertion. May stain clothing.

Reflex incontinence 

The involuntary loss of urine due to detrusor hyperreflexia and/or involuntary urethra relaxation without warning or sensory awareness. This condition may be seen in the presence of neurogenic bladder disorders.


The backward flow of urine from the bladder back through ureters and sometimes into the kidneys.

Ring cap

Cap on the protective tip of some of Hollister Incorporated intermittent catheters that protects the catheter tip. The ring assists with cap removal, especially for those with limited dexterity.


The means of emptying the bladder independently with an intermittent catheter.

Sizing guide

Used for penile sheaths, these semi-circular cutouts help determine the diameter of the penis in order to guide catheter selection for correct fit.

Soft catheter

A gentle, flexible catheter with limited firmness.

SoftFlex barrier

A flexible skin barrier from Hollister Incorporated that conforms to round and some irregular surfaces. Gentle enough to be removed in 24 hours or less.

Straight tip

Refers to the tapered, rounded insertion end of a catheter.

Stress incontinence

The involuntary loss of urine associated with physical stress, such as coughing, sneezing, climbing or lifting.

Suprapubic catheter

A catheter that is inserted through the skin above the pubic bone and into the bladder for continuous drainage of urine.


A scan that can be used to identify the shape and position of the bladder and other abdominal organs.

Underactive bladder

A bladder with an overly large capacity that overfills. Loss of sensation due to this filling action results in a bladder that does not contract forcefully enough, and small amounts of urine dribble from the urethra.


Two hollow tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.


The natural tube through which urine exits the bladder.

Urge incontinence

The involuntary loss of urine associated with a strong desire to void (urgency).


An examination of the contents of urine to determine the presence of infection, to diagnose metabolic disease (e.g., diabetes), and to obtain information about kidney function.

Urinary incontinence

The involuntary loss of urine that is objectively demonstrable as a social or hygienic problem.

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

An illness caused by the invasion of bacteria in the tissues of the urinary tract.


Liquid waste filtered from the blood by the kidneys.

Urine crystallisation

Crystals of salts and minerals may form in alkaline urine. Alkaline urine may also allow bacteria to grow in the bladder, which may result in a urinary tract infection (UTI).


Measurement of the functional sequences within the lower or upper urinary tract.

Vacuum relief valve

A feature on Hollister Incorporated leg bag tubing that helps prevent collapse of the tubing.

Vented leg bag

A special vacuum-relief mechanism featured on Hollister Incorporated oval kink-resistant tubing and the companion pouch, which also features an air vent. These combined features help to minimise a vacuum in the leg bag, as well as in the tubing. A vacuum is created as the urine cools outside the body. The vacuum may stall urine drainage through the tubing and/or prevent the leg bag from emptying completely.