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How to Care for your Condom Catheter

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 1, 2023.

What is a condom catheter?

A condom catheter is a rubber sheath that is put over your penis. The condom is attached to a tube. Urine drains through the tube and into a drainage bag. A condom catheter drains your urine without putting a catheter into your bladder through your penis.

What should I know about using a condom catheter?

Condom catheters are made of several different materials. Do not use a latex catheter if you are allergic to latex. Different types of condom catheters attach to your penis in different ways. Some catheters have a Velcro attachment, and other catheters attach with medical tape. Do not use adhesive tape. Always use the condom catheter as directed.

How do I put on the condom catheter?

  • Wash your hands and your penis with soap and water. Rinse and dry your penis carefully.
  • Inspect your penis to make sure it does not have any broken or reddened skin.
  • Gently roll the condom over your penis. Leave 1 to 2 inches of the condom catheter at the end of your 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 your penis.
  • Connect the condom catheter to the tube of the urine bag.
  • 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, attach the catheter to the bedsheet with a safety pin. Make sure the safety pin goes around the tube and not through it.
  • The urine collection bag must be placed so that your urine flows downward. If you are in bed, you may attach the collection bag to your bed under the mattress. If you are sitting in a chair, you may attach the urine bag to the chair below the cushion you sit on.

How can I 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.
  • Clean your urine bag with soap and water at least once a week if you reuse it.
  • Empty the urine bag when it is ⅔ full. If you have a full sized bag, empty it every 8 hours. 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 or hold the urine bag over the toilet.
    • Without touching the tip, remove the drain spout from its sleeve at the bottom of the urine bag. 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 healthcare providers have asked you to keep a record.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your penis becomes red, purple, or swollen.
  • Your urine is thick, cloudy, or has mucus in it.
  • 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).
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. 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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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.