What is a Male External Condom Catheter?
A urinary catheter is a tube that helps drain urine from the bladder when a person is unable to urinate on their own. External catheters for men are designed to be worn like a condom over the penis. A condom-like tip attaches to a tube and then to a bag to collect urine. External catheters are disposable and made from latex or silicone. Shop catheters in various sizes with or without adhesives and sheath straps to help keep them in place. Also find tubing, leg bags and other urine collection supplies that work with external catheters for men.
External Catheters vs. Indwelling Catheters
Indwelling or Foley catheters involve a tube inserted through the urethra and into the bladder to drain urine. While health conditions like dementia or bladder stones may be more suitable for indwelling catheters, there are advantages and disadvantages to using both.
- External Catheter Advantages: Because they are not invasive, male external condom catheters bring a lower risk of urinary tract and other infections than Foley catheters. They also tend to be more comfortable, less restrictive of movement and easier to self-administer at home than indwelling catheters.
- External Catheter Disadvantages: Using the wrong size of external catheter can cause it to fall off or leak. Skin irritation including allergic reactions to latex in the catheter or adhesive can occur. Because they are relatively easy to remove, external catheters for men suffering dementia are not recommended.
How to Use External Catheters
- Wash your hands and penis with warm water and soap. For bedridden patients and application away from home, options like Kendall disposable washcloths make this hygiene step easier.
- Let your penis dry completely. You may apply a skin protectant or sealant to your penis and pubic area to avoid adhesive irritation. Make sure it is smooth and dry before proceeding.
- Place the external catheter over the tip of your penis and unroll it toward the base, as you would a condom. Leave enough room so that the tip of your penis does not rub against the catheter.
- Hold the catheter in place for about 15 seconds to allow adhesive to set.
- (When Available) Place sheath strap over the condom catheter and make it snug but not tight enough to stop blood flow.
- Attach the external catheter to tubing and a leg bag, which can be secured with straps below the knee.