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Sheaths are devices that fit over the penis and connect to a urinary drainage bag. They are also known as external catheters, condom catheters and uridomes.

Sheaths are a potential alternative for men with urinary incontinence who do not wish to use pads. They fit over the penis similarly to condoms, are typically made of silicone, and come in a variety of sizes. Some sheaths are self-adhesive, while others require adhesive tape to be put on the penis prior to applying the sheath. Before applying a new sheath, be sure to wash the penis and neighbouring areas. The sheath should not be too tight or too loose, and the penis should be able to move normally. Sheaths should be changed daily.

Sheaths can be used during the day or night. Once applied, the smaller open end connects to a leg drainage bag which can be strapped to the man’s leg and concealed underneath pants. For overnight drainage, the sheath can be connected to a larger bag or bottle kept near the bed. When connecting to a drainage bag, ensure that the connecting tube is sufficiently large enough to allow urine to flow into the bag and prevent backflow which could dislodge the sheath. Also ensure that any bags are emptied regularly, because if they become too heavy with urine they could pull off the sheath.

For men who experience shortening of their penis or retraction, short sheaths are available. For advice on sizing, it is best to speak with a continence nurse advisor from The National Continence Helpline 1800 33 00 66.

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