An external catheter is actually an antithesis of catheter, as understood in common medical parlance. Where an indwelling or intermittent catheter is inserted into the penis to reach the bladder and drain out the urine, an external catheter is simply placed over the penis is order to collect the out-flowing urine. It is a non-invasive device that is limited in application, but extremely comfortable to use.
It is used in the same way as a condom. That’s why it’s also called a condom catheter. However, it is different from a condom in many aspects. It comprises of a plug, which allows a drainage tube to transport the urine into a urinary storage bag, which is fastened around the leg.
The External catheter is also known by several other names, like Texas catheter, urisheath, penile sheath, condom urinal, body worn urinal, condom drainage system, and urinary collection device.
When is External Catheter recommended?
An External catheter is recommended in various medical conditions, including:
- Incontinence, i.e., involuntary leakage of urine due to one or more factors
- Urological problems in men, especially men with some kind of neuro-muscular disorders
- Some post-surgical effects (both temporary and permanent)
Kinds of External Catheter
External catheters are available in different varieties. Some of these are discussed below:
1. One-piece and Two-piece External Catheters: One-piece external catheter is a single piece of catheter with fixed drainage tip, while two-piece external catheter comprises of two parts – one remains on the penis and the other is a removable drainage tip.
2. External Catheters with anti-reflux valve: Some external catheters are equipped with anti-reflux valves that prevent the urine from leakage and backflow.
3. External Catheters with balloon principle: Some external catheters are based on the balloon principle, which prevents them from falling off the penis.
4. External Catheters with a help stripe: Such external catheters remain steadfast on the penis using a help stripe, which wraps the catheter around the penis.
5. Drip Urinals: These are specialized catheters comprising of (a) a tubular sleeve, enveloping the penis at one end; and (b) a hose-fitting outlet at the other end, which can be attached to a drip bag or a waist bag reservoir. The urine can be drained using a tap. Some drip urinals also provide the option to connect multiple drainage bags to lessen the emptying frequency.
6. Public Pressure Urinals: In case of retracted penis, external catheters could be difficult to hold. In such cases, public pressure urinal is held close to the body using groin and waist straps. The pressure applied by these straps enables the penis to protrude into the urinal.
7. Penis and Scrotum Urinals: Such urinals are slightly bigger and designed in order to envelop the whole genitalia.
8. Male External Device: This device is another option for men with retracted penis, as it is placed on the foreskin.