A catheter is a small hollow tube inserted through the urethra into the bladder, allowing urine to flow from the body, explains News Medical. This standard catheter is only used for five to 10 minutes at a time. Other types of catheters may have a different appearance, says WebMD.
Indwelling catheters are inserted into the bladder and are left for longer periods of time, WebMD says. They have a balloon at the end to hold the device in place. A suprapubic catheter is placed in the bladder through an incision above the pubic area, providing continuous drainage. It is similar in appearance to the indwelling catheter. Finally, there is a condom catheter. It fits over the penis and is attached to a tube that collects urine. It is also for short-term use.