Condom Catheters for Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) can disrupt the urinary process. For example, nervous system messages coming to or from the bladder may not work. Because of this, some people with SCIs cannot tell when their bladders are full, or they may not be able to release urine on command.

In addition, some individuals experience bladder spasms that can cause accidental and random urination. To help with urination, people with a SCI often use a catheter. The need for and type of catheterization depends on the type and severity of the SCI. Learn more about condom catheters as a catheter option from wound, ostomy and continence (WOC) nurse with CHC Solutions, Inc., Cheryl Hutton.

What is a Condom Catheter and Who Can Use It?

A condom catheter is a urine storage device that can manage incontinence in men. Often, condom catheters are suggested to patients who can drain urine but have no control of release.

It is made of silicone or latex and consists of a condom that can be rolled onto the penis and attached using a double-sided adhesive. The catheter is attached to a tube that drains urine into a drainage bag. The bag can either be attached to the patient’s leg or bedside.

Benefits of Using a Condom Catheter

  • Condom catheters are less likely to cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to their noninvasive structure.
  • Some men claim that condom catheters are more comfortable than intermittent catheters.
  • Condom catheters can be used at home and changed with little effort.
  • Lastly, condom catheters have less restriction on movement.

How To Use a Condom Catheter

The Shephard Center Hospital lists the following steps on how to use a condom catheter:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Wash the penis with a soapy washcloth, rinse and then dry.
  • Take the condom out of the package, rolling the condom toward the funnel-shaped end.
  • Place the funnel end of the condom over the head of the penis.
  • Roll the condom over the head of the penis to the base of the penis.
  • Wrap the condom holder about one inch above the base of the penis.
  • Pull the strap over one finger to make sure it is not too tight.
  • Fasten the condom holder.
  • Connect the condom to a leg bag or bedside bag.
  • Wear the leg bag below the knee.

As always, there may be some disadvantages associated with a catheter. In this case, condom catheters can cause skin irritation and breakdown, they can leak if they are the wrong size, they are more likely to fall off, there can be an allergic reaction to the latex and they may be painful to remove.

Talk to your doctor about which catheter works best for you and for more information on condom catheters, click here and to view our urology blogs, click here.

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.