There are many varieties of catheters on the market and many people have seen a Foley or Coude catheter or other type of indwelling catheter, but many people have limited experience with the external variety. For those choosing an external cath over an adult diaper or adult brief for their urinary incontinence — condom catheters may just be the best of the best. They consistently rank among the easiest to use both from men who self cath and for health care workers that use external male catheters and they are far more comfortable and, in many cases, healthier than an indwelling cath.
Although there are other external catheters (like the AFEX incontinence system) on the market today they are often regarded as more complicated to use. The simpler condom style catheter comes in two main types: long and short. The shorter variety adheres only to to the area immediately surrounding the urethra. For many men, the fact that this type only connects in such a small area may lead to a nagging worry that it will fall off. These shorter type of catheters generally rely solely on a strong adhesive to stay connected. The methods to keep a full condom catheter firmly in place are more varied and include velcro straps, inflatable rings, adhesives, and the natural snugness provided by the elasticity of the latex or silicone itself. The long length allows them to be secured further up the base. This brings more peace of mind to many users and for men with skin problems, the non-adhesive options for attaching the catheter may prove to be extra beneficial.
The application for the long versus the short models are a bit different. The male catheters that are glued only to the tip must allow for skin preparations and the glue to properly set. The full length variety usually can be applied much quicker and with far less preparation.
It comes down to personal preference, but for anyone taking a quick glance around online support groups and other forums they will find many users that definitely prefer the condom catheter’s health benefits, stability and security versus other styles of external catheterization and overwhelmingly choose it over an indwelling style. Beyond this choice, there are people that love the shorter style and plenty that love the options provided by the longer sheath. The main argument for the shorter type is allowing the skin to breathe during the day without being encased in latex or plastic while the longer one is seen as more secure and easier to apply. They are both very affordable and it is worth trying both to see which one not only feels right physically, but keeps you from worrying mentally.