Urinary incontinence is not uncommon to many patients suffering from bladder control difficulties. Men or women, whether young or old, are not free from getting afflicted with this urinary discomfort. The good news is that the medical technology has long addressed this problem when diapers and catheters were first developed. Briefly, catheters are tubes inserted and connected to specific parts of the body, like the bladder, in order to inject or to extract fluids from them. For men, one of the latest popular discoveries is condom catheters or coloplast catheters, also known as urinary sheath or penile sheath.
Condom catheters are external catheters that work like the traditional ones but are made even better, easier and more convenient to use. Their form is patterned after a condom and made to fit the penis just the same. They also come in various small, medium, large and extra large sizes. They are either made of latex rubber, polyvinyl or silicone. They are kept in place by a Velcro fastener, a special wrap-around sheath, a double-sided adhesive, or some other cuff or strap attached thereto. What a condom catheter does is to dispense with the insertion of a rubber tube into the male urethra, which is a tube connected to the bladder. Instead, the urine just directly passes through this male external catheter and is collected in an attached small urine bag, which may either be a leg bag or a down drain hung on the bed or placed on the floor. Hence, the patient can now empty his bladder without feeling the usual pain and discomfort.
Common advantages that condom catheters have are: they are painless; easier to wear, remove and replace; they are handy and can be easily concealed; they are less restrictive and allow more mobility for the patient; their wear times can be longer; and they keep other parts of the body dry.
On the other hand, the disadvantages of the use of condom catheters are usually directed to equipment use and malfunction, such as: possible leaks due to the obstruction of urine flow caused by the twisting, kinking or compression of the drainage tube; and faulty assembling and disassembling of the rusch catheters parts. Moreover, the following contraindications are noted: skin allergic reaction and irritation; skin tears; and urinary tract infection.
But the abovementioned complications may be avoided if proper care and maintenance is carefully adhered to by the patient or his caregiver. For one, all condom catheters used must be the right fit and size; the catheter must be replaced at least daily or as often as necessary; the hands must be carefully disinfected before putting on the catheter; the penis itself must be washed everyday; the pubic hair must be regularly trimmed to avoid tangles; the urine bag must be frequently emptied and cleaned, as well as the drain tube that connects the catheter to the bag; comfortable cotton underpants must be worn to keep the genital area dry and fresh; and there must be habitual intake of water by the patient.
To be sure, whatever unusual discomfort the patient might feel; or whatever visible signs and symptoms of any skin irritation that might appear around the genital area; or whatever defect the condom catheters have, must all be immediately reported to and checked by a physician.