External Catheters for Men and Women

man and woman looking out window embracing each other

When men and women experience leakage from urinary incontinence, urinary retention symptoms, or have prostate problems, their doctor may bring up the use of an intermittent urinary catheter as a solution. For some, using an intermittent or indwelling catheter may not be an option due to frequent catheter-associated urinary tract infections or bladder stones. An external catheter for men and women may be just the right option for managing urinary incontinence.

What are External Catheters?

condom catheter with foam strapDoctors can treat urinary incontinence in men with a male external catheter, which is not like traditional catheters that insert into the bladder to drain urine. Thus, the male external catheter is often referred to as a Texas catheter or condom catheter because it is placed over the penis almost like a condom.

A female version of an external catheter is also available. We offer the PureWick Female External Catheter. This female external catheter allows for non-invasive urine output management for female patients.

Why an External Catheter May Be Needed?

For men and women that suffer from urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, or mobility issues, an external catheter may be the right choice. The external catheter is designed for those that can drain urine but cannot control when it is released.

Sometimes, an internal catheter is not an option due to frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs) or bladder spasms. External or condom catheters can be beneficial because they are less likely to cause urinary tract infections associated with frequent catheterization. Because male external catheters allow for more movement and are non-invasive, they can be a more comfortable option. Your doctor must size you for the fit to prevent leaks that can lead to skin irritation and breakdown.

Using adult diapers and pads makes the skin susceptible to damage from exposure to urine, but the female external catheter alternative wicks the urine away to keep the skin soft and dry. Female external catheters give females managing urinary incontinence a new and simple option.

How Does an External Catheter Work?

purewick female external catheter in handFor men, the difference between a standard condom and a male external catheter or condom catheter is that it has a plug at the end to attach a drainage tube so urine can pass into a collection bag or device that is typically attached to the leg. Unlike the standard condom, most male external catheters, Texas catheters, or condom catheters are self-adhesive.

For women, the external catheter uses a long cylinder with a top layer of absorbent fabric. This cylinder is then placed between the labia and laid against the urethra. The female external catheter uses a low-pressure suction design to pull the urine from the soft, absorbent fabric, through the cylinder, and into a designated container. The female external catheter can be held in place with adhesive pads while being used.

How Long Should an External Catheter Stay in Place?

Medi-Sol Adhesive Remover wipes for removing adhesive residue from external catheterExternal catheters for both men and women should be replaced and disposed of every 24 hours and are not meant to be reused. Remaining clean and sanitary is an essential step when using an external catheter. The chances of getting a UTI or skin infection are increased by leaving an external catheter in place for too long.

When removing an external catheter for men, apply a warm, wet washcloth over the condom catheter to help loosen the adhesive. After slowly rolling down the condom catheter, any leftover residue can be removed using an adhesive remover.

Urinary drainage bags can be reused. The urine collection bag should be emptied when it becomes approximately two-thirds full, and it is recommended to be thoroughly cleaned at least once per day. Cleanse the inside and outside of the bag, as well as the valve, with warm, soapy water. This will ensure to keep it sanitary as it hangs to air dry.

Does Medicare Cover External Catheters?

If you qualify for Medicare, make sure to do some research to ensure that the doctor you choose accepts Medicare. Medicare will not pay a claim for a clinician that is not enrolled. If your clinician is enrolled, Medicare will cover external catheters/urinary collection devices for both men and women who have permanent urinary incontinence and cannot use an indwelling catheter as an alternative.

A detailed list of all the supplies included in Medicare coverage related to external catheters for men and women can be found at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

External catheters for men and women can be an excellent alternative to indwelling catheters and help prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). For questions about any of the male and female external catheters we offer, our Product Experts are just a phone call away and happy to help. If you aren’t finding the external catheter you are looking for; we have access to so many home delivery medical supplies, we are sure to find options for you at a competitive price.

Popular External Catheters & Supplies

Freedom Clear Silicone Self-Adhering Male External Catheter

Item #5100 Freedom Clear External Male Catheter

Spirit Style 1 Hydrocolloid Adhesive Male External Catheter

Item #35301 Brad Spirit Style 1 Male External Catheter

Urocare Urofoam Adhesive Foam Strips

Item #5100 Urofoam External Catheter Straps

Medline Leg Bag with Comfort Strap and Twist Valve Drainage Port

Medline Leg Bag
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Managing Incontinence Leaks After Pregnancy

For many women who have recently given birth, urinary incontinence or loss of bladder control is a common issue that can continue for days, months, or even years after childbirth. Incontinence can be a personal and challenging problem, especially for young mothers who may be overwhelmed with their new parental role and physically active with their new baby. We understand that incontinence can affect a patient’s life in multiple ways. Many people have difficulty managing their symptoms while also participating in daily activities such as errands, exercise, and social activities.

Incontinence and Pregnancy

Often urinary incontinence starts during pregnancy and can grow in severity following birth. Recent studies have found that women who deliver by Caesarean section are far less likely to have severe urinary incontinence following birth than those who deliver vaginally. Several studies show that the group with the most significant risk of developing incontinence after giving birth are obese women over 35. Overall, women who deliver their babies naturally have a 40% chance of developing urinary incontinence. This incontinence is most generally caused by a weakening of the bladder and pelvis muscles during childbirth. Following childbirth, the uterus will begin to shrink back to its original size by repeatedly compressing, putting a strain on the bladder.

Most women experience incontinence for three months after delivery; however, it is normal to experience minor incontinence one year after giving birth. In some rarer causes, women can experience incontinence even eight years after giving birth. However, only 2% of these women say it is a significant problem.  The length of time a woman experiences incontinence after giving birth varies from case to case, although some factors can influence the duration of a women’s recovery time. Age, multiparity (number of children born at once), and birth method all are factors that can affect the likelihood of developing incontinence. However, the most definitive warning sign of long-lasting symptoms are women experiencing stress incontinence three months after their first delivery.

Tips for Managing Incontinence Leaks

Luckily, there are steps to reduce the likelihood of long-lasting incontinence and ways to manage current symptoms. Women who are experiencing urinary incontinence due to childbirth may want to consider trying the following exercises and life changes:

Practice Kegels

While this tip may seem obvious for most women, it would be an oversight to underestimate the importance of kegerator exercises to manage incontinence. Kegels are an exercise that strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, which support the small intensities, uterus, rectum, and bladder. The most doctor recommended Kegel regiment is to practice three sets of 30 Kegels a day.

How to Correctly do Kegel Exercises

Try Bladder Training

Many people believe that the way to strengthen the bladder is to wait a long time between bathroom breaks or “hold” in their urine. The opposite, in fact, is true. To strengthen the bladder, you must start by attempting to pee every 30 minutes and gradually increase the time between bathroom visits.

Consider Using Female Catheters

Female catheters are an excellent option for women experiencing incontinence. Female catheters can help retrain the bladder to fill and empty at regular times throughout the day. While male catheters are typically 16-inches in length, female catheters are 6 to 8 inches long though they can range down to smaller sizes.  Those who are prescribed self-catheterization should follow their doctor’s instructions for how frequently to cath.

421571 gentlecath glide female catheter

Avoid Constipation

For the first few months after giving birth, many women experience mild to severe constipation. Like many other medical ailments, frequently, one symptom can impact another. When dealing with incontinence, it is essential to manage constipation to the best of your abilities as full bowels put additional pressure on the bladder. To avoid constipation, eat high fiber foods and exercise frequently.


Stay Clear of Bladder Irritants

It is recommended that those with incontinence look at their diets to see if there are foods that could worsen symptoms. Some food items that can irritate the bladder are coffee, tomatoes, alcohol, soda, and various citrus fruits. If the bladder is irritated, stopping unexpected leaks can become more difficult. It is important not to avoid drinking water when battling incontinence. It is common to avoid drinking water to help prevent urine leaks; however, this may increase the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and dehydration.

We carry thousands of home delivery medical supplies at Personally Delivered that can help with all types of incontinence. We know that it can be overwhelming choosing products that are right for your unique needs. That’s why we have Product Experts to help guide you through the decision-making process to make it easier for you.

For any questions on the incontinence related products we carry, or any of the other medical supplies we offer, give us a call and we will be glad to help.

Popular Female Incontinence Products

GentleCath Glide Female Catheter

421571 gentlecath glide female catheter

Prevail Overnight Bladder Control Pad

prevail overnight bladder control incontinence pads

Hollister VaPro Plus Pocket Female Catheter

hollister vapro female pocket catheter

Personally Delivered Daytime Protective Underwear

personally delivered daytime protective incontinence underwear
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