FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a condom catheter?
A condom catheter is an external male catheter used to manage urinary incontinence and other bladder-related issues causing involuntary leakage of urine in men. The term ‘condom catheter’ can often refer to either a flexible Texas catheter or a molded condom catheter. Functionally both types of external catheters are similar however they differ in structure. While a Texas catheter is a two-piece device including a sheath similar to a prophylactic condom and detachable drainage tube, a molded condom catheter is typically one rigid piece. Incontinence condom catheters can be disposable or reusable and require a skin adhesive of sorts to hold in place.
How do I put on a condom catheter?
Whether you choose to use a molded condom catheter or a Texas catheter, the application process is similar. Before cathing, be sure you have all the required supplies within reach. You will need a male condom catheter, skin adhesive, antiseptic wipes or some sort of cleansing agent, and access to soap and water.
Begin by thoroughly washing your hands to protect against possible contamination leading to unwanted infection or irritation. Then thoroughly clean the penis with a disinfectant and allow it to dry completely. Some condom catheters will come with adhesive tape and others will require a separately purchased skin adhesive, either in liquid or tape form. When using a two-way foam tape adhesive, lightly place it around the shaft taking great care not to wrap too tightly. Excessive restriction could cause extensive damage and should be avoided. If you choose a one-sided tape adhesive, apply to the top of the sheath around the penis; again, use care not to make the tape too tight. When using a liquid adhesive, paint the shaft evenly with a coat of adhesive and allow to dry to a tacky state, approximately one minute. Place the condom catheter over the penis and press firmly to ensure a good bond between the sheath and the adhesive. Attach the drainage tube to extension tubing or the tubing included with your drainage bag.
How often should I change a condom catheter?
An external condom catheter should be changed every 24 hours. Extended use of external urinary devices without regular cleansing can lead to bacterial infections. To remove an external catheter, wash your hands with soap and water before disconnecting the tubing. Gently separate the sheath from the adhesive with the help of warm water or an adhesive remover when necessary. Dispose of single-use catheters as directed by the manufacturer or thoroughly cleanse reusable catheters before reapplying.
Is condom catheter application a sterile procedure?
Applying a condom catheter is not considered a sterile procedure, however, safety precautions including proper disinfection of the hands and penis should be carefully employed to avoid the accumulation of skin-irritating bacteria and potential urinary tract infection.
Do you need a doctor’s order or prescription for a condom catheter?
For Medicare to cover an external catheter, you are required to have a physician's order describing the products needed. Although this document is not officially a prescription, this Medicare form is necessary for incontinence supply coverage.
To learn more about external catheters, be sure to speak with your healthcare professional. If you have Medicare, don't forget to ask for a physician's order to ensure full coverage for your urinary incontinence supplies.
How do I know which size condom catheter I need?
Condom catheter sizes are typically measured in millimeters. For the best fit, use a measuring tape to find the circumference of the penis just behind the head. If you do not have a soft (or sewing) measuring tape, use a string, shoelace, or any other flexible item to find the length and hold it up to a ruler or rigid measuring tape. Divide the length in centimeters by 3.14 to find your size in millimeters and compare it to your preferred brand's sizing guidelines or chart.
Tip: If between sizes, use the smaller size available. An external catheter will stretch to provide a good fit but a loose external or condom catheter will not properly adhere.
Please note: While many men will find a standard size that will fit properly, not all manufacturers use the same guidelines. Check your preferred manufacturer's sizing recommendations before purchasing.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER
The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, charts, and any other material on this site, is intended for informational purposes only and does not take the place of medical guidance provided by your physician. No information on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult a qualified medical professional about your condition or circumstances before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.