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External Condom Catheter Shopping Guide

Diagram of External Catheter

This is a list of supplies you will need for successfully using external condom catheters. Every person is different, any time you try a new product it is a good idea to try it at home before venturing out in public with new equipment. It is also a good idea to do a small skin test before using any new skin preps on sensitive skin. This is meant to be a basic list to get you started. There are other items, like antiseptic wipes, adhesive removers, and odor eliminators that you may decide you need as well. It can be daunting to try new things especially when that new thing is health related. I hope this list helps answer some questions about male external condom catheters and that it helps to alleviate some of the nervousness you feel toward your new normal.

Condom Catheter Shopping Checklist:


Skin Prep

The purpose of skin prep wipes and sprays are to form a protective barrier between your skin and the external catheter. The skin prep is applied directly to the skin, which helps when your skin comes in contact with urine and/or adhesive.


External Catheters

One of the most important aspects to an external catheter is the fit. It needs to fit snug but not too tight. Lisa Lucas wrote an informative article about external catheters and how to choose the perfect one for you. I would highly recommend reading her article. There are many types of external catheters from self-adhesive to ones that use adhesive strips as well as different materials like silicone or latex.


Catheter Bag & Leg Bag

The leg bag attaches to the external catheter by tubing. The leg bag is worn under pants, skirts, shorts and is available in many shapes and sizes. You can choose between reusable and disposable urinary drainage bags. When your leg bag is ¾ to ½ full, you will want to drain the contents of your leg bag. When emptying your leg bag, be careful to not let the tubing, leg bag, or any part of your equipment touch the bathroom floor or toilet.


Tubing and Connectors

The tubing and connectors are what connects the external catheter to the leg bag or the night drainage bag/bottle. They are available in various lengths. Tubing for external catheters can be purchased in silicone, rubber, latex and latex-free.


Leg Bag Straps

Most leg bags come with straps, however some people prefer the cloth or reusable leg bag straps that can be purchased separately. Each product is available in various sizes so make sure to take measurements before you make your final purchase.


Urine Bags for Overnight

Leg bags are not meant to be worn while sleeping, they would not drain properly. When you are sleeping, overnight drain bags or night drainage bottles are the better solution. The bag or bottle would be next to the bed or hung from the bed itself so urine can drain easily while you are sleeping.


Appliance Cleanser

Appliance cleansers are used to clean and deodorize your urinary leg bags as well as your night drainage bottles. They are specially formulated to break down uric crystals and help avoid blockages. Leg bags should be cleaned nightly after you switch to the night drainage bag/bottle. Then in the morning you use the appliance cleansers to clean your night device.

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