Surgical Urinary Management: Eliminate Condom Catheters!

While most doctors will tell you there are some serious drawbacks to condom catheters, there’s nothing that quite captures it for me than the story this guy, we’ll call him Bob, told about his surgery at a New York hospital in 2010.

We’ve redacted the identifying bits but here’s the bit I found most interesting… his experience of bladder management during and after surgery. We’re sharing that portion of his story below.

I went in for surgery at one of the best hospitals in New York.

When I arrive, I’m immediately met; given a changing room, told were to go etc, very orderly…they put in an IV, and led to a waiting room, where I stayed for about an hour. Very well appointed, it was like the Ritz-Carlton lobby.

Finally, I’m escorted to the operating room, this turns out to be a five minute walk around hospital with my ass hanging out the back side of my “robe.” As we reach the operating room, my escort looks at me as we arrive in front of the open operating room doors; and my goodness, the look he gives me; it’s like meeting the hang man.

It’s now time to prep me…The head resident/fellow picks an intern we’ll call John.  “Lucky John” the intern gets to shave me. He doesn’t look too happy. In the process he asked me, what would turn out to be, the most important question of the entire affair: what kind of catheter would I like? Would I like a standard catheter (one that is inserted into the hole of your penis), or would I like a condom catheter (one that slides over your penis)? Now I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking nothing inserted into your penis can be good! So, I go for option number two, the condom catheter. “Lucky John” finishes shaving me, puts on the condom catheter and three hours later, the surgery done, I’m rolled into the recovery room.

Exhausted, but somewhat alert, I’m told I need to lie flat for six hours and not move.

This is after the above three hours and three bags of IV fluid… I really have to piss now, but I can’t move. And I can’t piss with this catheter laying flat on my back. My bladder is talking to me at this point, it’s getting painful.

Nine hours later and now 4 bags of IV fluid in me, they help stand to take the piss of life, but first we have to remove the condom catheter. Whoever invented this should be shot. Not only is it uncomfortable, it is covered with a crazy glue substance that is impossible to remove without pulling the skin off of your Johnson, it is truly, incredibly painful, I had tears in my eyes, but that wasn’t the worst part, the worst part is when you realize that “Lucky John” the intern that shaved you, didn’t do such a good job.

You realize that as the pubic hair attached to your scrotum and at the bottom of your shaft is being ripped out by the roots. I no longer needed to piss, I was somewhere between wanting to eviscerate the intern, and shooting myself, it was that bad. Two days later, and one shower, the glue still has my Johnston sticking to my leg, although there’s no pain involved, I flinch every time I adjust.

I don’t know about you but that story made me cringe in sympathy.

Condom catheters utilize a strong acrylic adhesive similar to what you find on duct tape or mild superglue. Now imagine ripping that off your skin 4-5 times a day, then putting a new one back on. For men who need to intermittent cath, that’s a regular occurrence. Is it any wonder doctors and patients are flocking to abandon condom catheters for a healthier, painless alternative?

Personally, for any man in his situation, I’d recommend a hydrocolloid external like Men’s Liberty. It doesn’t have quite the barbaric side effects that Bob described above. Which would you choose?