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Types of Catheters for Men: A Quick Tutorial

Types of Catheters for Men: A Quick Tutorial
Kevin Cleary

Article Reviewed by Registered Colorectal NurseReviewed by Christine Kijek, Registered Colorectal Nurse, on September 6, 2022

Intermittent Catheters     |    Indwelling Foley Catheters     |    External Condom Catheters

In America, there are millions of men who need to use catheters every day. The reasons for this are plenty, and so are the options available to male patients. The two main causes for the need for a urinary catheter are the inability to completely empty one's bladder (urinary retention) and the emptying of the bladder at inappropriate times (incontinence). The anatomical differences between men and women create some unique circumstances for males. Many men have felt the stigma of a bladder that doesn’t work properly, so they may withdraw socially and derail from experiencing a fulfilling lifestyle. What men need to understand is there is no shame, and there are numerous types of catheters for men that allow them to regain their freedom and lifestyle.

Why would a man need a catheter?

Men And Their Catheters: A Quick TutorialI’m sure if you were to ask men if they prefer to use a catheter, they would say no, but there are many reasons why they need this for a healthy lifestyle. The reasons for catheter use can vary from man to man, but all have one thing in common: they prevent the proper emptying of the bladder. The National Institutes of Health have identified several factors that can lead to catheter use.

  • Urinary incontinence or retention (inability to control your urine and the inability to completely empty your bladder, respectively) is a leading cause.
  • Also, surgery for the prostate or genitals can lead to catheter use.
  • Medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis or dementia.
  • Another common reason for the need for catheters is spinal cord injuries, where you can’t sense the need to empty your bladder, nor do you have control over it.

The act of male urinary catheterization is relatively simple, the eyelid side of the catheter is inserted into the urethra (taking care not to touch it with anything that is not sterile) until the tip reaches the bladder and the urine starts draining. Whether the cause is bladder/prostate cancer, diabetes, or an injury, there are many options for patients to accommodate just about everyone’s lifestyle.

Types of Catheters for Men

As you can imagine, men have different needs as well as different lifestyles. With this in mind, there are many different options to accommodate most men when it comes to their catheterization needs. The first step in determining what might work for you is to identify what specific medical needs you may have. Your urologist can help with this process by giving you the pros and cons of each catheterization system. notes that there are basically three different types of catheters for men. They are:

  • Intermittent Catheter - An intermittent catheter is a thin hollow tube that is inserted into the bladder through the urethra to drain urine. It is used for intermittent self-catheterization.
  • Indwelling Foley Catheter - These stay in place continuously and are held in place by a balloon that is inflated inside the bladder. While convenient, the risk of urinary tract infections (UTI) is higher with indwelling catheters than with intermittent catheters.
  • Condom Catheter - Also known as a Texas catheter, it is a special type of condom attached to a special tube to collect urine. It is for short-term use only since long-term use can increase the risk of UTIs, urinary blockage, and skin irritation.

Even silicone-coated PVC in order to give patients a variety of options. Another factor that can influence your decision on catheter style is the extent of your injuries. For instance, somebody affected by a spinal cord injury that won’t allows the patient to self-catheterize might opt to use a Foley catheter since they cannot self-cath. For an enlarged prostate, using a Coude tip (curved tip catheter) may allow for easy insertion around an obstruction.

Even among these types of catheters for males, variations allow patients to choose what might fit them the best. Many of them can be carried discreetly in a man’s pocket and are known as male pocket catheters.

  • Bard offers users many variants of their intermittent catheters. The Bard Bardex Robinson Red Rubber Urethral Catheter features two opposing eyes with a hollow round tip while the Bard Bardex Whistle Tip Latex Urethral Catheter has a single drainage eye that maximizes flow and an open whistle tip. Both are meant for single use and are sterile to minimize the risk of infection.
  • For those who are sensitive to latex, Bard offers the Bard Clean-Cath PVC Intermittent Catheter. It is individually packaged in a sterile, easy-open package with a smooth round tip for easy insertion.
  • Another option is to use a catheter made of silicone. The Coloplast Self-Cath Plus Soft Intermittent Catheter is completely latex free and reduces the risk of urethral trauma.
  • Many patients experience difficulty inserting a straight-tipped catheter and, therefore, may require a Coude curved tip in order to get around some kind of obstruction. The Coloplast Self-Cath Coude Tip Intermittent Catheter features a guide strip to ensure proper alignment of the curved tip.
  • Another option that combines the benefits of PVC and silicone is the Rusch ERU Siliconized PVC Intermittent Catheter. It is flexible with a curved tip and a stiffer shaft to help ease male catheter insertion.
  • Some standard catheter systems are enclosed. This means that the urine is collected in a closed bag that is attached to the tube. The Coloplast Self-Cath Closed System Intermittent Catheter is a good example. It features an introducer tip that reduces the risk of bacterial contamination during insertion and comes with a 1100ml collection bag.
  • Another closed system that reduces the risk of UTIs is the Rusch MMG Closed System Intermittent Catheter. Its soft silicone introducer tip is lubricated with a non-allergenic water-soluble lubricant which minimizes the risk of bacterial infection.

Some men may need to use an indwelling catheter like the Foley catheter. These stay in place and are held by an inflated balloon in the bladder to prevent slippage. Just like with intermittent catheters for men, there are many different variations of male Foley catheters in order to accommodate just about every patient's needs. A two-way Foley catheter has two separate “branches” to allow for balloon inflation and urine drainage.

Foley catheters for men are also available in three-way variations. These allow for a third option of irrigation, in addition to urine drainage and balloon inflation.


Male external catheters are unique to men since the condom fits over the male penis. They are easy to use but should only be for short-term use. While convenient, over time, skin irritation and urinary blockage can occur. Much like Foley catheters and intermittent catheters, they also offer many options to patients, such as silicone or latex.


No matter the reason or what the injury or illness might be, there are options for men so that incontinence does not dictate your lifestyle. It may take some trial and error or mixing and matching, but overcoming the stigma of using catheters is your first step toward regaining your independence.

Where to buy Urinary Male Catheters Online?

At HPFY, you will get a premium range of urinary catheters for men's needs. Our collection includes a variety of catheter types, materials, and sizes, ensuring you find the perfect fit for your unique requirements. Your well-being is our priority – let us be your partner in this journey toward a more comfortable and fulfilling life.

Frequently Asked Questions about Men's Catheters

  1. How painful is a catheter insertion for a male?

    For some men, catheter insertion may cause only minimal discomfort or pressure. For others, especially those who are experiencing urinary retention or have certain medical conditions, the procedure can be more uncomfortable and may cause temporary pain or a sensation of burning. To minimize discomfort during catheter insertion, healthcare providers often use catheter lubricants and ensure that the process is carried out with care and expertise.

  2. How does a man sleep with a catheter?

    Sleeping with a catheter requires a few adjustments for comfort. Opt for loose clothing to prevent pressure on the catheter, and choose a comfortable sleeping position, often on your back or side. Position the catheter tubing to avoid tangles or pulls by using tape or a catheter holder. Ensure the drainage bag is below your bladder and emptied before sleeping. Use soft bedding to minimize friction and discomfort. It might take time to adjust, so be patient and consult your healthcare provider for any concerns.

  3. How long can a catheter stay in place?

    The duration varies depending on the type of catheter for men and the medical condition. Intermittent catheters are used temporarily, while indwelling catheters may stay in place for days to weeks.

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Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.



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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