External Condom Catheters – Buying Guide

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External Condom Catheters are used to manage urinary incontinence in men. As they are worn externally like a condom, they reduce the chances of having infections and trauma associated with the catheters that are to be inserted in the body. Male external catheters are made up of thin flexible sheath that is connected to a drainage bag via tubing. Their contoured design and minimized risk of trauma provide users with a safe and reliable way to control urine incontinence.

Choosing the Right Condom Catheter

Choosing the right condom catheter is a crucial task because it is the key to successful incontinence management. External catheters come with different types of materials, shapes and adhesive properties. You should choose the material that best suits your skin and the shape that best suits your anatomy. You can choose the type of adhesive property depending on the way you want the catheter to be attached.

Material of External Catheters

External condom catheters usually come in four types of materials, namely latex, silicone, polyurethane and poly vinyl chloride.

  • Latex: External condom catheters made up of latex are very soft and flexible. Their flexibility allows them to be rolled over the penis very easily. They are even very comfortable to wear.
Hollister Extended Wear Latex Male External Condom Catheter
  • Silicone: Silicone external catheters are made up of breathable and translucent material. They are great alternative for people who have latex allergies. Their translucency helps in inspecting the skin condition under the catheter.
 Hollister InView Standard Silicone Male External Catheter
  • Polyurethane (PU): Male condom catheters with polyurethane are more comfortable than other materials. Their thin, synthetic material fits the male anatomy nicely. Many latex-free condom catheters are made from PU.


  • Poly vinyl chloride (PVC): External condom catheters made up of poly vinyl chloride can withstand urine and mechanical impact. In long run, they may have bio-hazardous effects.


Shape of External Catheters

Choice of external condom catheters can be made between one-piece and two-piece structures, which are explained below:

  • One-piece: One-piece condom catheters consist of a single piece that is simply pulled on to wear the catheter. They are suitable for people who have difficulty wearing catheters with two or more pieces.
 Rusch Golden Drain One Piece Latex Male External Catheter With Tape
  • Two-piece: Two-piece condom catheters constitute of two parts, out of which one is fixed and the other is removable. The fixed part is worn over the penis while the removable part is connected to the drainage tubing.


Adhesive Properties of External Catheters

Male condom catheters are non-adhesive if they do not contain any adhesive and self-adhesive if they contain adhesive on their inner surface.

  • Self-Adhesive: Self-adhesive condom catheters contain adhesive or a sticky film on their inner surface. They are attached to the penis by simply rolling up and pressing gently.
 Coloplast Freedom Clear Silicone Self Adhering Male External Condom Catheter
  • Non-Adhesive:Non-adhesive condom catheters are required to be affixed to the penis because they do not contain their own adhesive. They are attached using skin glue, foam straps or single or double sided adhesive strips.


Finding the Right Sized Condom Catheter

Getting the right sized catheter is very important to prevent the risks of urine leakage and skin damage. Male external catheter should neither be too tight nor too loose. It must fit comfortably in both length and diameter. Follow the below given steps to find the right sized catheter:

  • Use a metric measuring tape or size guide to correctly measure the circumference of the penis.
  • Measurement should be taken at the widest spot when the penis is in relaxed state.
  • If the measurement lies between two sizes, choose the smaller size for better protection.
  • The larger size can cause urine leakage due to loose fit.
  • The smaller size can restrict the blood flow, resulting in skin damages and skin complications in long run.

 External Condom Catheters-Size Chart

How to put on External Condom Catheters?

  • Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly.
  • Clip your pubic hair that might get trapped inside the catheter when it is rolled up to the base of the penis.
  • Wash and clean your penis to maintain hygienic conditions. Let the skin dry completely before proceeding further.
  • Use skin protective wipe or skin sealant to protect your skin from urine moisture and perspiration. It also helps in easy removal of catheter. Allow wipe or sealant to dry completely before wearing the external male catheter.
  • Uncircumcised male should leave the foreskin over the penis head while putting on the catheter.
  • Make sure you leave a little space of about 1/2” between the funnel end of the catheter and the tip of the penis.
  • Self-adhesive external catheter: If you are using a self-adhesive catheter, there will be a coating of sticky adhesive on its inner surface. Place the catheter on the tip of the penis and gently unroll it. After it is put on, gently press around the catheter to make a good seal between the skin and the adhesive.
  • Non-adhesive external catheter: If you are using a non-adhesive external catheter, you will need skin adhesive, adhesive strip or catheter strap to hold the catheter in place.
  • Skin adhesive/glue: Skin glue can come in different forms - liquid, spray or wipes. Before putting on the catheter, apply skin adhesive on the shaft of the penis. Then gently unroll the catheter over the penis and squeeze gently to ensure a good seal.
  • One-sided adhesive strip: Wrap the adhesive strip in a spiral fashion from the penis head, keeping the adhesive side down. Do not apply it too tightly, as it can restrict the blood flow. Unroll the catheter over the penis and press gently to make a good seal.
  • Two-sided adhesive strip: Remove paper liner from one side and start wrapping it in spiral fashion. Remove paper liner from the other side and continue wrapping it in spiral fashion, overlapping the ends. Do not apply too tightly. Put on the catheter gently.
  • Smooth out any wrinkles once the condom catheter is in place. In case you find too many wrinkles, it may be an indication that your catheter is too large.

How to remove External Condom Catheters?

  • Male external catheters should be removed with great care to prevent any kind of skin trauma.
  • Take a warm, wet washcloth and wrap it around the catheter to loosen the adhesive.
  • Once the adhesive loosens, roll off the catheter from the penis.
  • In case there is any adhesive residue left on the penis, use an adhesive remover and wipe off the residue.



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