External refers to external catheters that are placed outside of the body and are typically used to help men who don’t have urinary retention issues but may have functional or mental conditions, such as dementia. Also called the condom catheter, a device that looks like a condom covers the penis head and the tube leads from the condom device to a drainage bag.
As compared to other catheters, external catheters are more comfortable and carry a lower risk of infections than their long-term counterpart. Some brands of external catheters are designed for long-term use but others need to be changed daily, which can cause skin irritation because of the repeated application and removal process. This catheter is a non-invasive treatment and for many of its users, it is the easiest catheter type to apply, wear, and remove.
Choosing The Right Size
Getting the right external catheter size is important to avoid leakage and the device falling off. Most manufacturers include a measuring guide to help you decide which is the best size for you.
In the case of most brands, the penis should be measured at the shaft, where the diameter is the biggest, to help determine the right external catheter size for you. Measure the circumference (the length around from the shaft) of the penis in millimeters then divide the result by Pi or 3.14. For example, if the circumference of the penis 110 millimeters, if you divide this by 3.14 (110/3.14), it results in 35mm. This is the size that you should look for.
In the case where you fall in between sizes, opt for the smaller size to avoid any leakage. Just be aware, though, that if the external catheter is too tight, it can fall off.
As these catheters are sold by the piece, it is best to get closest to your measured size, or if this is not available, try a size above and below and find which fits best.
Different Types of External Catheters
The types of external catheters available in the market are divided into two aspects: the material it is made of and whether it has an adhesive or not. It may be advised to try a few different types to find the right catheter that suits your needs. Here are the different types of external catheters:
Latex catheters were the most popular and utilized external catheters, but as a newer kind emerged, these are now used by those who do not have a latex allergy. Most of these are manufactured without adhesives, which may have to be purchased separately if needed. This type is ideal for daytime use as an adhesive may not be needed. Consider either a reusable one with an inflatable ring or one with a removable tip if you urinate regularly and still have some leakage.
These latex alternatives are most suitable for people with latex allergies. Apart from this, most silicone external catheters provide adhesion, prevent skin irritation, are odor-free, and breathable. As time goes by, silicone external catheters are slowly becoming more popular than its counterpart.
Self-adhesive external catheters are easily affixed by gently pressing on the adhesive backing on the skin. This will help keep the device in place. This is ideal for those who use external catheters at night or who may need more support during the day. Most silicone external catheters feature self-adhesive backing.
Non-adhesive catheters, on the other hand, require an adhesive, like a strip or skin glue to attach. This is more ideal for those who may have sensitive skin or already damaged or irritated skin, as well as those who need to change catheters several times a day. Most latex external catheters are non-adhesive.
Catheters present an easy and efficient way for persons with urinary issues to remove fluids from their body, and can also be equally helpful in surgical procedures. Knowing the type of catheter you will need for your condition will help you take care of it and lessen the chances of infection or any discomfort.