Advantages of Male External Catheters Over Other Catheter Types

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
03/19/19  10:17 AM PST
Advantages of Male External Catheters

Many men find male external catheters (MECs) a better alternative than other types of catheters and/or incontinence briefs. While each individual has their own preferences, there are some definite advantages that male external catheters (also called “condom catheters,” “texas catheters” or “urisheaths”) hold over both indwelling and intermittent catheters.

First up is the infection rate. Both indwelling and intermittent catheters are associated with urinary tract infections, or UTIs – though in this case, they’re known as CAUTIs (catheter-associated urinary tract infections). CAUTI rates fall when male external catheters are used, in both hospital and home settings.

Secondly – comfort. While there can be some external irritation associated with male external catheters, especially if the wrong size is worn or the device is worn for too long, many individuals still find it preferable to the internal irritation that an indwelling catheter may cause.

There is also choice. With indwelling and intermittent catheters, while there are different types, the main option to choose from is the size of the tubing. With male external catheters, there are many different types of choose from, and most companies will send samples to try. These types of catheters are also a great option for retracted penises, as there is a retracted penis pouch that can be used.

Lastly, there’s ease of use. In general, using a male external catheter is as simple as rolling on a condom, and then connecting the tubing to a leg bag. There’s no need for a healthcare professional to be present, as is often the case with an indwelling catheter, nor does the user need to have the dexterity and the know-how to insert an intermittent catheter.

Something to keep in mind, though, is that male external catheters can irritate the skin over time. Our Spinal Cord Injury Lifestyle Specialist, Aaron Baker, has used different types of catheters over the years, and he recommends taking a break from condom catheters every so often so that the penis skin isn’t constantly wrapped up. If possible, one can use an intermittent catheter during that time, or incontinence briefs.

This information does not replace the advice of a medical professional. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your doctor.

Sources: Capital Nursing Education and Shield HealthCare’s recorded webinar, Common Urinary Catheter Complications and How to Address Them

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