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Types of External Catheters - Your Guide To Find The Right One

Types of External Catheters  - Your Guide To Find The Right One
Anushree Kothari

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

A male external catheter (MEC), also known as a condom catheter or Texas catheter, is used to treat urinary 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 that directs the urine flow 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 onto the penis.

Wondering what is the best male external catheter for you? Here is a list of different types of external catheters you can choose from. 

Types of External Catheters

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

Male External Catheter Types

Male External Catheter Types By Material

Based on the material type, four male external catheters contain latex, silicone, polyvinyl chloride, and polyurethane.

1. Latex Catheters

Latex is a very soft, 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.

2. Silicone Catheters

Silicone is a translucent, breathable, and bio-compatible material. Silicone external urinary catheters can be a great alternative for those with latex allergies. They are skin-friendly, and their translucency allows the users to inspect the skin for any irritation or skin problems.

3. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Catheters

Polyvinyl chloride is a synthetic plastic polymer with resistant material that can stand against urine and mechanical impact. PVC catheters for men may have bio-hazardous effects in the long run.

4. Polyurethane (PU) Catheter

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 these types of external catheters are latex-free.

Types of Condom Catheters By Shape

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

1. One-Piece External Catheters

One-piece male external catheters constitute a single piece that must be pulled on. There is no need to struggle with wearing two or more pieces.

2. Two-Piece External Catheters

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 connected to the drainage tube.

Male 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.

1. Non-Adhesive External Catheters

Non-adhesive external catheters do not contain any adhesive. They must 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 a frequent need to replace the catheter.

2. Self-Adhesive External Catheters

Self-adhesive male external catheters have a sticky film on their inner surface which helps them attach to the penis. They are simply rolled up and pressed gently to fix them in place.

Condom Catheter Sizes

The penis's circumference must be measured for appropriate catheter sizing. The penis is measured at the shaft, whose diameter is the largest, to get the right size. 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 when it is retracted or small.

If there is confusion between the two sizes, select the smaller one for better fit and leakage protection. The material of male external catheters is flexible and will snugly fit around the penis. The larger of the two sizes can result in leakage.

Size Chart for External Catheter For Males

How to put on a Condom 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 15 to 20 minutes before application so the penis dries out completely.
  3. Trim the hair present on the penis and its base with scissors to prevent them from sticking to the adhesive. You can also slip a paper towel with a hole in the center on the penis. This will keep hair away from the adhesive.
  4. Ensure that no redness or irritation occurs on the penis.
  5. Pull the foreskin back to its natural position if you are uncircumcised.
  6. You can use a skin protective wipe to increase adherence and easily remove the catheter, but allow it to dry after applying.
  7. Collect all the male catheter supplies.
  8. Choose among the below-given methods depending on the type of external catheter, to adhere the catheter to the penis.
  9. Once the catheter is placed over the penis, choose a drainage bag for collecting urine.
  10. Attach the tubing end to the condom catheter.

Single-Sided Adhesive Strip

  1. Pace the male external catheter over the 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 it too tight, as it will restrict blood circulation.

Double-Sided Adhesive Strip

  1. From one side of the adhesive strip, remove the paper liner.
  2. Wrap the tape on the penis shaft with the 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 a condom catheter over the penis head, leaving around 1 - 1.5 inches of space between the catheter and the penis tip.
  5. Unroll the catheter over the entire penis and press gently for 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.

Removal of Condom Catheter

  1. Take warm water and wet a washcloth in it. Apply it to the penis and keep it there for a few minutes. This will release the adhesive.
  2. Roll off the male external catheter to remove it. When it is rolled off, the adhesive also comes off 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 the skin because they can cause chapping or cracking of the skin.
  4. Finally, wash your hands with soap and water again to prevent contamination.

What is the best male external catheter available at HPFY

Health Products For You offers an array of urological supplies, including different types of external catheters. Here are three of our best condom catheters for you.



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HPFY Anushree Kothari

Anushree Kothari

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Anushree Kothari, a family caregiver and a true empath, has been a devoted contributor to Health Products For You since 2016. Her journey as a medical writer for HPFY is a result ...

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