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What You Need to Know About Condom Catheters

What is a Condom Catheter?

Condom Catheters are external catheters that are made of a rubber sheath that are put on like a normal condom. They collect urine and drain it through a tube to the collection bag strapped to the side of your leg. They’re typically used by men who experience a loss of bladder control otherwise known as Urinary Incontinence. 

Condom Catheter

How to Put on a Condom Catheter 

  1. Gather all the supplies needed.
    • Important Note: Make sure the condom type and size are correct to you
  2. Wet washcloths and soapy washcloths
  3. Condom strap (if using this product)
  4. Make sure to cleanse hands with soap and water.
    • Wash the penis with the soapy washcloth and with the wet cloth as well
  5. Dry the area well before putting on the condom. 
  6. Take condom out of package.
  7. Place the funnel end of the condom over the head of the penis. 
    • Make sure to roll the condom down over the head all the way to the base.
    • If this is a self-adhesive type of condom, hold it in place after it is fully rolled down for 10 seconds. If it is not a self-adhesive condom, continue to the next step.
  8. Get the condom holder out of the package.
  9. Wrap the condom holder about one inch above the base of the penis.
  10. Pull the strap over one finger to make sure the strap is not too tight.
  11. Fasten the condom holder.
  12. Fasten the elastic strap to the Velcro (if using this product). 
    • Important Note: The condom strap should be changed at least daily when doing ICs or when using the condom without ICs.
  13. Connect the condom to a leg bag or bedside bag.
  14. Wear the leg bag below the knee.

How to put on a condom catheter

Important Considerations

  • Condom catheters should be replaced every 24 hours. Throw away the old one unless it’s designed to be reusable.
  • The collection bag should be emptied when it’s about half full or at least every three to four hours for a small bag and every eight hours for a large one.
  • Collection bags are typically reusable. They should be cleaned before they’re reused.

How to Prevent a Condom Catheter Infection 

  • Make sure to use a new condom catheter every day.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after doing catheter care.
  • Remove the condom catheter and wash your penis at least once a day.
  • Clean your urine bag with soap and water at least once a week.
  • Empty the urine bag when it is ⅔ full. If you have a full sized bag, empty it every 8 hours. If you have a smaller leg bag, empty it every 3 to 4 hours. Follow these steps when emptying your urine bag:
    • Place a large container on the floor or hold the urine bag over the toilet.
    • Without touching the tip, remove the drain spout from its sleeve at the bottom of the urine bag. Open the slide valve on the spout.
    • Let the urine flow out of the urine bag into the container or toilet. Do not let the drain tube touch anything.
    • Close the slide valve and put the drain spout into its sleeve at the bottom of the urine bag.
    • Write down how much urine was in your bag if healthcare providers have asked you to keep a record.

Condom Catheter vs. Internal Catheter

What is an Internal Catheter?

As the name suggests, internal catheters are inserted directly into the bladder via the urethra, to drain the bladder. This variety of catheter may sometimes be referred to as as a Foley catheter. 

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These catheters are used to relieve urinary retention and many times in order to manage long-term UI. They are comprised of soft, flexible tubes that have double lumens, one of which is for urine drainage and the other for inflation and deflation of the retention balloon. Once inflated, the balloon allows for retention of the catheter in the bladder. 

It is important to keep in mind that internal catheters are recommended only for short-term (less than 30 days) use, but usually stay in place for 2 weeks or less.

Advantages and Disadvantages 

A major advantage of internal catheters is that once inserted, these catheters require less involvement than with the condom catheter. Still, there are other reasons for concern such as higher rates of infection that accompany this type of catheter.

A significant disadvantage of internal catheters is the increased risk of acquiring a Urinary tract infection (UTI). This derives from the fact that internal catheters are more invasive, and thus result in a greater likelihood that bacteria will be introduced, leading to chronic infection.

On the other hand, condom catheters tend to cause much less discomfort due to the fact that they do not enter the urethra. As a result, they are also less likely to cause a UTI. Yet, condom catheters are generally poor at collecting urine and can cause damage to the surrounding skin. Additionally, condom catheters can cause irritation if attached too tightly. Sometimes dislodgement can occur and result in leakage, which can also be a problem.

Which Catheter variety is right for you?

It depends.

As explained in this post, each variety of catheter carries pros and cons. It is important for those looking for a catheter solution to carefully evaluate their individual needs and match the catheter type to their lifestyle. Many times this process involves trial and error to find which catheter better suits your needs. Condom catheters, being less invasive, are an ideal first step into the world of catheters and may solve many of your problems without needing a more invasive internal catheter. Give it a try, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised by the wonders that condom catheters are capable of providing.

For those looking to self-cath rather than use an external catheter, CompactCath’s discreet, easy-to-use, intermittent-catheters are a great option! Designed at Stanford University, CompactCath comes pre-lubricated, and limits urine spill and mess, all while fitting in your pocket. 

Click below for a free sample box of our award-winning catheters!

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