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Tips For First-Time External Male Catheter Users

By Cassandra Tezeno April 11, 2017

Urinary incontinence is a common condition, especially for seniors of a certain age. The likelihood of this condition increases as you get older: around 14% of individuals aged 65 to 69 have urinary incontinence, while 45% of those over age 85 do. For many men who experience incontinence, an external male urinary catheter may be the most effective and comfortable form of treatment.

Although it's often the least invasive option as far as urinary catheters go, they can still be intimidating for a lot of people. With so many types of urinary male catheters available to you, it can be tough to know which to choose. At Get Complete Care, we have a wide range of urological supplies for your needs. But once you decide on the right product for you, you may be concerned about knowing the best practices for its use. We've put together some helpful tips for first-time users.

Choosing Your External Male Urinary Catheter
You'll need to determine what type of external catheter works best for you. Do you want a latex catheter, or would you prefer latex-free or silicone options? Would you like disposable or reusable catheters? Do you want the catheter to be self-adhesive, or would you rather have one with an adhesive strip or a strap? Would you rather apply lubricant, or do you want your catheter to come pre-lubricated? We can easily send you some samples to try out to find which style you like best.

Once you've chosen a style, you'll need to make sure you obtain the right fit. These external catheters are not a "one size fits all" kind of product. If the catheter is too small, it can be difficult to put on and could be uncomfortable (or even dangerous) to wear. But if it's too large, you may experience slippage or leakage during wear. There are several measuring guides you can use to discern what size would be most effective for you. If you are between sizes, it's usually better to go with the smaller of the two.

Preparing For Urinary Catheter Wear
Before putting on your external catheter, you'll need to follow a few steps. For the sake of comfort during wear, you may want to consider trimming down pubic hair before use. However, you should not shave, as it can cause irritation. Then, use a mild soap to wash and then dry thoroughly. Do not use lotions or soaps that leave a residue, as this can affect the adhesive of your catheter. You may also want to use a skin barrier, also called a skin prep sealant. This will protect your skin from moisture and will reduce irritation when you change your catheter. Allow it to dry completely before putting on the catheter. If you've purchased a male external catheter kit, you'll likely have the rest of the supplies you need for use.

External Catheter Application and Removal
An external catheter will look very similar to a condom, and will be applied in much the same manner. Make sure to leave enough space at the end of the catheter to minimize friction. Slowly unroll the catheter and smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles once it's completely unrolled. If there's extra room at the bottom, you can carefully snip off the excess. Once it's time to remove it, you may want to use a warm washcloth to loosen the adhesive before taking it off.

We hope this guide will ease your mind about using external male urinary catheters for the first time. To find out more about our external male urinary catheter options or other urological supplies we offer, contact Get Complete Care today.

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