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.
What You Will Need to Use Condom Catheters:
Preparation for Condom Catheter Application:
- Wash hands with soap
- Trim hairs on the shaft and the base of your penis
- Wash penis thoroughly with mild residue-free soap and warm water
- 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:
- External Condom Catheter
- Urinary Leg Bag or similar urine collection device
- Extension Tube (used to connect the condom catheter to the urinary leg bag)
- Skin Prep
- Non-pointed manicure scissors (for trimming pubic hair)
- Soap (must not leave a cream or residue on the skin)
How to Connect a Condom Catheter to a Urinary 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.