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How to Use Male External Catheters

How to Use Male External Condom Catheters

Coloplast Conveen Optima - Silicone Male External Condom Catheter Condom catheters are a type of urinary catheter that is worn on the penis for the treatment of incontinence. Men who experience urinary incontinence can use external catheters without having to wear adult incontinence briefs.

External condom catheters are worn and when they are connected to a leg bag via extension tubing they funnel and collect urine away from the body. Most commonly external condom catheters are made of either silicone or latex and they are self-adhering, which means there is adhesive on the inside of the catheter that allows it to stay on the outside of the penis.

Male external catheters are not a one-size-fits-all item. You will need to take measurements. In order to use condom catheters, you will need to gather some medical supplies, such as tubing and a leg bag. Just like using any medical device, using external male condom catheters has a learning curve.

Be patient with yourself and don't be afraid to contact your medical team or an online medical supply for information on how to best use condom catheters.

What is an advantage of using an external condom catheter?

Condom catheters are non-invasive. This means that nothing is inserted into your body. Some people find this to be more comfortable than an indwelling catheter. An external catheter also greatly reduces your risk of contracting a urinary tract infection (UTI). This type of infection is much more common among people who use indwelling catheters.

Condom catheters are also an alternative to wearing incontinence pads or diapers. Some incontinence garments can be bulky or visible under clothing, whereas condom catheters tend to be more discreet. Condom catheters also keep the skin dry, which can be a challenge when wearing incontinence products.

External condom catheters are easy to use, making them a popular choice among men. Many people are able to apply and remove the catheter independently. Trying different condom catheters in the beginning can help you find the right style and fit for you.

How to Measure for Condom Catheters:

Coloplast Freedom Cath - Latex Male External Condom Catheter External catheters are not one size fits all. In order to work properly, they need to fit. If they are loose they will fall off and if they are too tight they will be uncomfortable and restrict blood flow.

Manufacturers make sizing guides that are available from your local doctor, online medical supply company, or online resource. Using a sizing guide is the best option! If you don't want to get a sizing guide all you need to do is to take a string and wrap it around the shaft of your penis making sure the string is neither too tight or too loose and then measure the string using millimeters.

Measure all the way around the shaft of the penis and then divide that number by 3.14 (pi), this is how you get the diameter. The condom catheters are sized in millimeters and are based on the diameter of your penis, not the circumference.

The diameter measurement number in millimeters will tell you the size you need to purchase.

For your first purchase, I recommend buying 5 of the size closest to your measurement, 5 in the size below that and 5 in the size above it. This will allow you to try different condom catheters on so you can choose the one that works best for you.

What You Will Need to Use Condom Catheters:

External Catheter Connected to Urinary Leg Bag DiagramPreparation for Condom Catheter Application:

  1. Wash hands with soap
  2. Trim hairs on the shaft and the base of your penis
  3. Wash penis thoroughly with mild residue-free soap and warm water
  4. Rinse off all soap and trimmed hair
  5. Dry the skin thoroughly, it can help to use a hair dryer on a low setting to make sure the skin is completely dry.

Supplies You Will Need to Use External Condom Catheters:

How to Put on a Condom Catheter:

Hollister InView Extra - Silicone Male External Condom Catheter
  • Open the package carefully without unrolling the condom catheter.
  • Place the rolled self-adhering catheter over the tip of the penis
  • Carefully and slowly start to unroll the condom catheter down the shaft to the base of the penis.
  • You will need to leave enough space in the funnel end of the condom so the tip of your penis doesn't rub against the inside of the funnel because it will cause chafing.
  • Try to smooth out the condom catheter sheath as you unroll it.
  • If you are uncircumcised, leave the foreskin in place over the head of the penis.
  • Gently grip the catheter and squeeze gently to make sure the adhesive inside the condom catheter adheres properly. Accidental condom failure can occur if this step is skipped.
Be aware, if there are excessive wrinkles in the condom catheter it can be an indication that you have the wrong size, try a smaller size and see if that works better.

How to Connect a Condom Catheter to a Urinary Leg Bag:

Hollister Vinyl Urinary Drainage Leg Bag The urinary collection bag can be worn on your thigh or calf. Extension tubing connects to the condom catheter and then is attached to the top of the urine bag. By using different lengths of drainage tubing you can wear your urinary leg bag however is most comfortable.

Most extension tubing includes the adapter but if yours does not, you can purchase tubing connectors separately. Tubing can be cut for a custom fit, pay attention to how the condom catheter feels when you sit, stand, or move around.

You don't want to cut the tubing too short because it can tug against the condom catheter causing the catheter to become dislodged.

How to Remove a Condom Catheter:

  • Wash hands with soap and water.
  • Wrap a warm washcloth around the penis for a minute to loosen the adhesive.
  • Gently roll the catheter down the shaft of the penis. Do not pull on the catheter, as this can cause irritation. If the catheter does not come off easily, use an adhesive remover wipe around the edge of the catheter sheath as you roll it away from the skin.
  • Remove any residue with an adhesive remover. Make sure the skin is clean and dry before applying your next external catheter.

What are Urinary Leg Bag Straps and Holders?

The leg bag is held on by straps. There are many leg bag straps and holders to choose from and if you choose not to use straps, there are leg bag holders as well. Make sure your leg bag straps are not digging into your skin or leaving raised welts when you remove your bag. This can cause skin irritation and pressure sores if you are prone to pressure injuries. You want the bag to be secure and the straps to fit comfortably. To help the urinary leg bag to be more comfortable, always empty your leg bag when it is half full. This will keep the bag from being too heavy and create less pull on your skin. When you empty your drainage bag, check your condom catheter, connections, leg bag, and straps to make sure everything is in working order. These checks throughout the day can help prevent leaks.
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