Reviewed by Christine Kijek, Registered Colorectal Nurse, on August 16, 2022
Male external catheter (MEC), also known as condom catheter or Texas catheter, is used to treat urine incontinence in men. It is a simple sheath that is worn on the penis, just like a condom. The end of the external urinary catheter is attached to a drainage tube which directs the flow of urine into a drainage bag. Many people prefer condom catheters over indwelling catheters because indwelling catheters require insertion through the urethra. External catheter for men is very simple and easy to use, as it is just required to be rolled on to the penis.
There are different types of external male urinary catheters available. The main difference between them is based on the material, shape and adhesive type.
Based on the type of material used, there are four types of male external catheters containing latex, silicone, poly vinyl chloride and polyurethane.
Latex is a very soft and flexible, natural product. External condom catheters made of latex are easy to roll on the penis because of their flexibility. Also, they feel very soft against the skin.
Silicone is a translucent, breathable and bio-compatible material. For those who have latex allergies, silicone external urinary catheters can be a great alternative. They are skin-friendly and their translucency allows the users to inspect the skin for any irritation or skin problem.
Poly vinyl chloride is a synthetic plastic polymer with resistant material which can stand against urine and mechanical impact. PVC catheters for men may have bio-hazardous effects in long run.
Just like PVC, polyurethane is also a synthetic material. PU male catheters are thinner and provide more comfort as compared to other materials. Many of the latex free external catheters for males are made from PU.
The male external catheters can be divided into one-piece or two-piece on the basis of shape of the catheters.
One-piece male external catheters constitute of a single piece that is just required to be pulled on. There is no need to struggle with wearing two or more pieces.
Two-piece external urinary catheters consist of two parts. One part is worn on the penis and it remains there. The other part is a removable drainage tip that is connected to the drainage tube.
There are two types of external catheters based on the type of adhesive used, namely, non-adhesive external catheters and self-adhesive external catheters.
Non-adhesive male external catheters do not contain any adhesive. They are required to be affixed to the penis with the help of skin glue, single or double-sided adhesive strips or foam strips. Skin adhesives are applied before rolling on the catheter. Adhesive strips are encircled on the penis to attach the catheter. Reusable foam and elastic strips are used where there is frequent need to replace the catheter.
Self adhesive male external catheters have a sticky film on their inner surface which helps them in attaching to the penis. They are simply rolled up and pressed gently to fix in place.
Coloplast Freedom Cath Male External Condom Catheter is a self-adhering catheter designed to manage male incontinence. It is convenient to use and great for everyday use. Freedom Cath Catheter is designed with a wide watertight adhesive seal. It is a one-piece catheter made of soft, stretchable Latex to keep the user comfortable and secure while in use. There is no requirement for an adhesive tape to fix the catheter.
Conveen Male External Catheter is Coloplast's award-winning male external catheter for men with urinary incontinence. It is made from PSX silicone material that is breathable and stretchable, allowing for a snug fit. Conveen Optima features a double grip strip which makes it easy and secure to apply the catheter. It fits securely around the penis without causing any skin irritation. Each sheath can be worn for up to 24 hours The triple action anti-leak system provides the best possible security. A standard length suits most men whereas sport length is more suitable for retracted shaft.
Coloplast Conveen Security Plus Self Sealing Male External Catheter features a push ring for secure connection to a leg bag. This catheter comes with an anti-kink bulb that prevents condom backflow. Conveen Security Plus Condom Catheter comes with a pull-tab that enables easy application. The integrated skin-friendly adhesive is gentle, yet stays in place. Security Plus is a single use catheter and may compromise its quality and effectiveness if reused.
Rusch Golden Drain One Piece Male External Condom Catheter is constructed of non-latex material for patient convenience. It features a supportive cup-shaped funnel bottom that prevents twisting. It comes with a 6" long and 1" wide foam strap. One of the finest condom catheters in the world, these male external condom catheters offer exceptional drainage at all times and are compatible with several drainage bags.
Medline Exo-Cath Male External Catheter is a flexible catheter made with natural rubber latex. It comes along with a double-sided foam-based adhesive tape to secure the catheter in place. The Medline External Catheter should only be kept in place for up to 24 hours. The Medline Exo-Cath is a flexible condom catheter.
Utraflex is an all silicone, self-adhering male external catheter that is 100% latex-free. The non-sensitizing adhesive provides a reliable bond to the skin for extra confidence and maximum wear time. UltraFlex offers a built-in adhesive band in a length and placement typical of traditional male external catheters. Its size and clear, breathable, silicone design work well for a wide range of patients.
For appropriate male external catheter sizing, circumference of penis is required to be measured. In order to get the right size, penis is measured at the shaft where its diameter is the largest. The patient should sit on the edge of a bed or chair with a slight distance between the legs. In this position, the best measurement can be taken. There is no need to measure the length of the penis. Condom catheters usually fit most penis lengths, except for the case where it is retracted or small.
If there is some confusion between two sizes, select the smaller one for better fit and leakage protection. Material of male external catheters is flexible and will snugly fit around the penis. The larger of the two sizes can result in leakage.
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Anushree Kothari, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2016. She has a deep interest in human physiology and wellness and possess a passion and talent for guiding others through ...
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