Sheaths fit over the penis much like a contraceptive condom and collect urine as it leaves the body. You may also hear them called condom catheters, uridomes, Texas catheters or external catheters. They can either be connected to a drainage bag which can be worn on the thigh or the leg which works well for men with moderate/heavy incontinence. Alternatively they can be connected to a catheter valve which can be useful for times when leakage is very light or during short activities like swimming, when other incontinence products are inappropriate.
In order to work well, sheaths need to be the correct size. Each manufacturer will produce a measuring tool and it is important to measure correctly, too large and it will be wrinkly and could fall off, too small and it will be uncomfortable and cause irritation.
Sheaths are liked by men of all ages, they work well and when fitted properly can have better leakage performance than pads 2. Men often prefer to use them as part of a combination of products, perhaps using a sheath in the day and a pad at night 2. During the day they are useful if you are active and want to go out for longer periods of time without access to a toilet e.g. long walks, playing golf etc. But they are also suitable for men in wheelchairs and those with a more sedentary lifestyle. They don’t work well if you have a short or retracted penis 2 (common after prostate cancer treatment) and products designed specifically for this purpose may work better.
Before using sheaths for the first time we recommend that you seek advice from the manufacturer (who may have a helpline or specialist nurse advisor) or ask your local continence service if they have someone with expertise in sheath fitting. 912. We have also produced a series of videos to help users and caregivers with the measuring and fitting of sheaths. See How to use a sheath for guidance.
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