How To Care For Your Condom Catheter

What is it?

  • A condom catheter is a way to drain your bladder without putting a catheter (rubber tube) into your urethra (u-REE-thruh). Your urethra is the tube that runs from the outside of your body into your bladder. Your bladder is where urine is stored in your body.

  • A condom catheter is a rubber sheath that is put over your penis. A condom catheter allows you to empty your bladder without using a urinal, bedpan, or toilet. Your condom catheter is hooked to a plastic tube which leads to a bag. The urine stays in the bag until it is emptied into the toilet.

What should I know about using a condom catheter?

Condom catheters are made of several different materials, such as latex. Do not use a latex catheter if you are allergic to latex. Different types of condom catheters may attach to your penis in different ways. Some catheters have a velcro attachment, and others have a special tape. Do not use adhesive tape. Always read and follow the directions given with the catheter when putting on, taking off, and throwing away the catheter.

How do I put on the condom catheter?

The following are general guidelines for using a condom catheter. If the instructions that came in the box with the catheter are different from these, follow those instructions.

  • Gather the following items:

    • Waterproof pad or bath towel.

    • Bowl of warm water, soap, washcloth, and hand towel.

    • Correct size of condom catheter (small, medium, large, extra large).

    • Velcro, tape, or other kind of sheath holding material.

    • Urine bag with tube.

  • Place the waterproof pad or bath towel under you if you are working in a chair or in bed.

  • Wash your penis using soap and water. Rinse and dry your penis carefully.

  • You may want to clip the hair or even shave the area near the base of your penis. Removing hair from this area will keep it from being caught in the condom or the attachment.

  • Inspect your penis to make sure it does not have any broken or reddened skin.

  • Wash, rinse, and dry your hands.

  • Hold your penis at a 90° angle from your body. Gently roll the condom over the penis. Leave 1 to 2 inches of the condom catheter at the end of the penis.

  • Wrap the sheath holder around the condom at the base of your penis. Do not wrap the sheath holder too tightly because this may stop blood from going to the penis.

  • Connect the condom catheter to the tube of the urine bag.

  • Make sure the condom is not twisted where it attaches to the catheter.

  • If you are using a small leg bag, use the catheter leg strap that came with your kit to secure the urine bag to your leg just below your knee. Leave some slack in the tube so the catheter will not be pulled when you move your leg.

  • If you are using your condom catheter at night, you may use a safety pin to attach the catheter to the sheet or your gown. Make sure the safety pin goes around the tube and not through it.

  • The urine collecting bag must be placed so that your urine flows downward. If you are in bed you may attach the collecting bag to your bed under the mattress. If you are sitting in a chair, the urine bag may be attached to the chair below the cushion you are sitting on.

What can I do to help prevent an infection?

  • Use a new condom catheter every day.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after doing catheter care.

  • Remove the condom catheter and wash your penis at least once a day.

    • Use a clean washcloth, soap, and water.

    • Wash your penis with soap and water. Pull back the foreskin and wash the glans and meatus (me-AH-tuss) if you are not circumcised. The glans is the head of the penis and the meatus is the opening into the urethra.

    • Rinse and dry your penis. Pull the foreskin down over the head of your penis if you are uncircumcised. This will prevent swelling.

  • Empty the urine bag when it is 2/3 full. Empty the bag every 8 hours if you have a full sized bag. If you have a smaller leg bag, empty it every 3 to 4 hours. Follow these steps when emptying your urine bag:

    • Place a large container on the floor next to your chair or hold the urine bag over the toilet.

    • Remove the drain spout from its sleeve at the bottom of the urine bag without touching its tip. Open the slide valve on the spout.

    • Let the urine flow out of the urine bag into the container or toilet. Do not let the drain tube touch anything.

    • Close the slide valve and put the drain spout into its sleeve at the bottom of the urine bag.

    • Write down how much urine was in your bag if caregivers have asked you to keep a record.

  • Clean your urine bag with soap and water at least once a week if you reuse it. If you reuse urine bags, have two of them. With two bags, you can use the clean one when the other is being washed and stored.

    • Get a new or cleaned urine bag with tubing.

    • Remove the condom catheter. Put on a new condom catheter and hook it to the tubing of the new or cleaned urine bag.

    • Rinse the old bag with warm water.

    • Fill the bag with one part white vinegar to three parts tap water. Let the bag sit with the water and vinegar in it for 30 minutes.

    • Empty, rinse, and air dry the bag.

    • When the bag is dry, store it in a clean plastic storage bag until you are ready to use it again.

  • Wear cotton underpants to allow good air flow and drying in your genital area.

  • Drink six to eight glasses of liquid each day. This will help keep your urine clear and pale yellow. Follow your caregiver's advice if you are on a fluid limit. Good liquids to drink are water, milk, and juices, especially cranberry juice. Limit the amount of caffeine you drink. Caffeine may be found in coffee, tea, soda, sports drinks, gels, and bars.

How can I prevent other problems?

  • When getting into bed, place the tubing so it does not kink or loop. Hang the urine bag on the bed under the mattress.

  • Call your caregiver if:

    • Your penis becomes very red, purple, or swollen.

    • Your urine changes color. (Some medicines and vitamins may change the color of your urine.)

    • Your urine is thick, cloudy, or has mucus (MEW-kuss) in it.

    • You have red specks in your urine or your urine looks pink or red.

    • Your urine has a strong smell.

    • No urine has drained from the catheter in 6 to 8 hours.

    • You have pain or burning in your urethra, bladder, or abdomen.

    • You have shaking chills or your temperature is over 101° F (38.3° C).

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your condom catheter. You can then discuss your treatment options with your caregiver. You can work with your caregiver to decide what care will be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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