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Male External Catheters - Buying Guide

Male external catheter (MEC), also known as condom catheter is used to treat urine incontinence in men. It is a simple sheath that is worn on penis, just like a condom. 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.

Types of Male External Catheters

There are different types of external male urinary catheters available. The main difference between them is based on the material, shape and adhesive type.

Types of Male External Catheters

Types of External Catheters - Based on Material

Based on the type of material used, there are four types of male external catheters containing latex, silicone, poly vinyl chloride and polyurethane.

Latex

Latex is a very soft and flexible natural product. External condom catheters made up of latex are easy to roll on the penis because of their flexibility. Also, they feel very soft against the skin.

Hollister Extended Wear Latex Male External Condom Catheter

Silicone

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.

 Hollister InView Standard Silicone Male External Catheter

Poly vinyl chloride (PVC)

Poly vinyl chloride is a synthetic plastic polymer with resistant material which can stand against urine and mechanical impact. PVC male external catheters may have bio-hazardous effects in long run.

Polyurethane (PU)

Just like PVC, polyurethane is also a synthetic material. PU condom 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.

Types of External Catheters - Based on Shape

The male external catheters can be divided into one-piece or two-piece on the basis of shape of the catheters.

One-Piece

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 on two or more pieces.

 Rusch Golden Drain One Piece Latex Male External Catheter With Tape

Two-Piece

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.

Types of External Catheters - Based on Adhesives

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

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 adhesive is 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 of replacing the catheter.

 Cook Non Adhesive Silicone Male External Condom Catheter

Self-Adhesive

Self-adhesive 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 Clear Silicone Self Adhering Male External Condom Catheter

Getting the Right Size!

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. Patient should sit on the edge of a bed or chair with slight distance between the legs. In this position, 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. Larger of the two sizes can result in leakage.

Male External Catheters-Size Chart

Applying the Male External Catheter

  1. Firstly wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Take some soap and water, and wash the penis. Rinse it and let it dry out. Wait for around 15 to 20 minutes before application, so that the penis dries out completely.
  3. Trim the hair present on penis and its base with scissors to prevent them from sticking to the adhesive. You can also use a paper towel with a hole in the center and slip it on the penis. This will keep hair away from the adhesive.
  4. Ensure that no redness or irritation occurs on the penis.
  5. Pull back foreskin to its natural position, if you are uncircumcised.
  6. You can use a skin protective wipe for increasing adherence and easy removal of catheter, but allow it to dry after applying.
  7. Choose among the below given methods depending on the type of catheter, to adhere the catheter to the penis.
  8. Once the catheter is placed over penis, choose a drainage bag for collecting urine. Attach the tubing end to the condom catheter.

Single-Sided Adhesive Strip

  1. Pace the male external catheter over penis, leaving about 1-1.5 inches of space between the catheter and the penis tip.
  2. Gently unroll the catheter over the entire shaft of the penis.
  3. From one side of the adhesive strip, remove the paper liner.
  4. Wrap the tape with adhesive side down, in a spiral fashion starting from the penis head. Do not apply too tight as it will restrict the blood circulation.

Double-Sided Adhesive Strip

  1. From one side of the adhesive strip, remove the paper liner.
  2. Wrap the tape on penis shaft with adhesive side down, beginning from just behind the penis head.
  3. Then remove the paper liner from the other side of the strip and continue applying in the spiral fashion, overlapping the ends of the tape. Remember that applying too tightly will restrict the blood flow.
  4. Put condom catheter over the penis head, leaving around 1 - 1.5 inches of space between the catheter and penis tip.
  5. Unroll the catheter gently over the entire penis and press gently to get a secure fit.

Self-Adhesive Catheter

  1. Gently stretch the penis and unroll the self-adhesive external catheter down its shaft.
  2. Press the catheter to remove any air bubbles or creases. This will create a leak-proof seal.
  3. No adhesive strip or skin glue is required to affix this catheter.

Removing the External Catheter

  1. Take warm water and wet a washcloth in it. Apply it to the penis and keep it there for few minutes. This will release the adhesive.
  2. Roll off the male external catheter to remove it. When it is rolled off, adhesive also comes out with it.
  3. To remove any residue of adhesive remaining, wash the penis with soap and water. Avoid using adhesive removers that are harsh on skin because it can cause chapping or cracking of skin.
  4. At last, wash hands with soap and water again to prevent contamination.