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Alternative to Catheter: 5 Options for Bladder Management

Alternative to Catheter: 5 Options for Bladder Management
Kevin Cleary

Article Reviewed by Registered Colorectal NurseReviewed by Christine Kijek, Registered Colorectal Nurse, on August 16, 2022

Battling incontinence can be quite an endeavor, and in many cases, the need for catheters may seem like the only alternative. What if there was a way that you could avoid potential UTIs and use a catheter alternative? Believe it or not, this is possible! Yes, men and women are different, and there are alternatives to catheters for both male and female incontinence. Allow me to help you!

Male Incontinence vs Female Incontinence

Incontinence does not discriminate between men and women. Both genders can be affected by this affliction, but since our urethras are uniquely different, the solutions are also different. The male urethra is longer compared to a female’s, so any solution for a woman is usually shorter (especially for catheters). The average male’s urethra is 18-20 cm long (roughly 7.5 inches), while a female has a urethra approximately 3-4 cm long (about 1.5 inches) and, unlike a male, is not part of the reproductive system. The rate of urinary tract infections is higher in females than males due to the proximity between the urethra opening and the vagina/anus. It is also easier to straight catheterize a male than a female, so alternatives may be just what you need.

What are the Alternatives to Catheters? 

While some instances of severe incontinence may require surgical or indwelling catheters, those with light to moderate incontinence might search for an alternative to urinary catheters. Since each individual has a unique case, there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution for everybody. Work with your doctor or nurse to determine which method might be more suitable for you. Not only are people different, but there are different types of incontinence, and some are:

  • Stress Incontinence
  • Urge Incontinence
  • Overflow Incontinence
  • Functional Incontinence
  • Mixed Urinary Incontinence

Understanding what type of incontinence you suffer from may have a direct effect on the solution for you. Since urinary catheters are different for both men and women, some of the alternatives are also designed specifically for men or women. Even though modern-day catheters are discrete, economical, and (more importantly) comfortable, you might have a question: what can I use instead of a catheter? You may opt for some catheter alternatives such as:

1. Penile Clamp

Obviously, this is designed for men. After prostate surgery or minor urinary incontinence due to age/injury, this clamp works by being designed for all-day comfort and control. By simply inserting the penis into the penis clamp and securing it, the clamp maintains blood flow while applying gentle pressure to the urethra to prevent urine leakage. Travelers need not worry since these are not made of metal and can be worn discreetly through metal detectors.


2. Compression Pouches

Disposable and easy to use, these disposable pouches are designed to cover part of the penis and constrict the flow of urine through the urethra. These can easily be used at any urinal (especially in public) for privacy and discreet wear. These are designed specifically for men and can help protect clothing from urine droplets.

3. Incontinence Pads

These are akin to menstrual pads but are worn with everyday underwear in a variety of different absorbencies. They also have moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry. Many even offer to correct pH balance features to minimize odor. These pads are available in many sizes, and an adhesive strip is placed on the back to keep them in place. Incontinence pads are available for men and women. Their absorption needs are different.


4. Protective Underwear

Adult diapers have come a long way! Many are anatomically designed for men or women only and are great for skin care. These can be available in disposable or re-washable options, which may be more economically viable for you. These can even be worn with pads for more peace of mind.


5. Pelvic Floor Exercises

Women can strengthen their pelvic floor muscles by doing a kegel exercise machine. The pelvic muscles directly influence the muscles around the bladder, and if these muscles are weakened, there can be urine leakage during laughter, coughing, and during exercise. Men can even benefit from this technique by stopping the flow of urine midway. Once the flow has slowed or stopped, you have found the correct muscles.

For those who suffer from incontinence, the battle may seem never-ending, and the possibility of needing catheters every day can be intimidating. There are some alternatives to daily catheterization, and all it takes is a little trial and error to see if they are right for you and your lifestyle.

Where to buy Catheter Alternative online?

Health Products For You carries a vast collection of products if you are looking for an alternative to the catheter in order to lower your risk of infection and get over incontinence-related worries. These products are discreet and can be great catheter alternatives for men and women dealing with urinary incontinence. Choose from the wide selection that best suits your requirements. Shop now and get amazing discounts.

Shop Incontinence Supplies



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HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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