Condom catheters are a urinary catheter that is worn on the penis for the treatment of incontinence. Men who can no longer retain urine 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. 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.
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. Manufactures make sizing guides which 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 (pie), 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:
How to Prep for Success Before Using Your Condom Catheter:
- Wash hands with soap
- Trim hairs on the shaft and the base of your penis
- Wash penis thoroughly with mild residue-free soap
- Rinse off all soap and trimmed hair
- 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:
- 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 of the penis.
- You will need to leave enough space in the funnel end so the tip of your penis doesn't rub against the inside of the funnel because it will cause chaffing.
- 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.
The urinary leg 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 leg bag. By using different lengths of 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.
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 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 leg 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.