Catheter Connection

Catheter French Sizes

by Jessica February 24, 2014 15:10
Determining the best size of intermittent catheter for you can greatly increase the efficiency and comfort of your self-catheterization routine. But how does one choose the right size?

French Sizes

All internal catheters are sized by a universal gauge system that is referred to as "French size(s)," which is based on the measure of the external diameter of the tube. The way the size is determined is a simple multiplication of 3 (diameter in millimeters times 3 = French size). So, if a catheter has a diameter of 4.7 millimeters, the French (Fr) size is 14.

Catheter Funnel Colors

Intermittent catheters with funnels use a universal color coding system to help you determine what French size a catheter is. See below chart for common universal French sizes and their corresponding funnel color codes.



Getting the Size Just Right for You

Why is determining the French size of your catheter so important?

  • Comfort is an important part of the catheterization process. If you are using a catheter with too large of a French size for your urethra, cathing can be more difficult and even painful. If it is far too large, you will not be able to insert it at all.
  • The overall pace of voiding your bladder can go slower if you use a French size that is smaller than normal.
  • When using a catheter that is smaller than your urethra, urine released from the bladder will not only escape through the catheter tube but also around it, which can get urine on your hands and elsewhere.

There are a wide range of sizes from pediatric to adult, and intermittent catheters also come in varying lengths: pediatric (typically around 10 inches), female (6-8 inches), and male/unisex (16 inches). This is to accommodate the different urethral lengths between genders.

To determine the best size for you, please consult with your doctor or healthcare professional so that you can get a quality experience with your intermittent catheters every time.

For more information, or if you have additional questions about products, feel free to call and consult with one of our trained specialists!


About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for almost 5 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company! She loves writing, art, music, and spending time with friends and family.
 

Things Your Child Should Know About Self-Catheterization

by Catheter Experts February 21, 2014 14:50

If your child has a condition that requires intermittent catheterization, there will come a point in time when they may need to learn how to self-cath in order to gain some independence. Your occupational therapist and/or doctor will test your child to see if they're ready to start cathing on their own. In general, they'll most likely examine their hand skills, vision, and ability to follow directions. Additionally, they will ask your child to do it themselves while in the presence of a nurse or doctor to make sure they are doing it correctly. If all goes well, your child can start cathing all on their own now!

Here are a few helpful tips for any young person new to self-catheterization:

  • Have your supplies ready to go. The first step in self-cathing is having the right equipment and supplies. Depending on the type of intermittent catheter you will be using, you may need some additional supplies on hand, such as lubricant, clean water source and soap or antiseptic wipes, sterile gloves, etc. If you are not nearby a toilet, you will also need a container to store your urine until you can dispose of it. A closed system catheter or a catheter with an insertion supplies kit are both great options to keep your cathing experience sterile, discreet, and convenient, no matter where you travel. For your little ones who are heading off to school on their own, having an all-in-one kit can make a big difference.

  • Keep the process as hygienic and sterile as possible. As discussed above, it's helpful to use supplies that are discreet and convenient and play a big role in keeping your self-catheterization experience hygienic. Washing your hands with soap and water before cathing and wearing sterile gloves can go far in helping to reduce the risk of infection. Using a "touchless" closed system catheter with an insertion tip can also greatly reduce the risk of recurrence of UTIs. Give us a call to discuss your product options!

  • Watch out for the signs and symptoms of UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections). Especially when you first start cathing and are still learning the process of how to properly cath, it's important to keep an eye out for any symptoms of UTIs. Be sure to only use your catheters once and then dispose of them. If there is any pain, burning, consistent urge to void, blood in urine, or if you've experiencing a fever, contact your doctor.

  • Relax. It might be worrisome or even a stressful idea for some that self-cathing will be a part of one's daily life, but just know that it does get easier with time. You might be surprised to know just how many people, even people you know, self-cath every day. Remember that if you're tense, it may be tougher to insert your catheter. Parents, you can take a helpful role by easing your child's fears by talking to them about cathing. Teach them to relax through various breathing techniques. Sometimes coughing can help loosen the muscles to allow an easier insertion. Remember, if you run into any pain or difficulty with inserting the catheter, don't force it. Just call your doctor, and they can advise you best on what to do.

  • Join 180 Medical's Kids Club. The 180 Medical Kids Club was created to ease the fears of families just like yours that have been told your child needs to catheterize. We'll help you and your child adjust to this new way of life with one-of-a-kind educational materials and fun activities for your child. It's as simple as a quick sign-up online!

In addition, we recommend looking into our 180 Medical How To Cath DVDs, as well as our online portal, which offers cathing instructions and other resources.

Contact us today to learn more about our resources available for your child!

What Do the Symbols on My Catheter Package Mean?

by Jessica February 12, 2014 13:11
Whether you're brand new or a seasoned pro at self-cathing or using ostomy supplies, you probably come in contact with your medical supplies on a regular basis. And at some point, you may have looked at the packaging on your catheter or ostomy equipment and seen something like the below picture.



Do all those unrecognizable symbols on the package make you feel like you're in the dark? 180 Medical can shed light on this situation for you! We love to offer education when and where we can.

When you speak with one of our caring specialists about the best way to prevent a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), they will discuss what is called sterile or single use (for more on that topic, see our article "5 Ways to Help Reduce UTIs"), and then they may ask you to take a look at your catheter package to find a symbol of a number 2 with a line crossed through it. That symbol means "do not reuse," which indicates the FDA's guidelines that all intermittent catheters are considered sterile-use devices that should be used once and then disposed of.

Depending upon the brand and type of supply, packaging can vary in color, size, length, and shape. But you can always depend on knowing that the symbols are there, because they are regulated by the FDA.

Here are a few of the most common symbols:
 Symbol for "Do not reuse." Single or sterile use only.
   Manufacturer's lot number or batch code. They symbol will be right next to a set of numbers indicating the number of the batch in which this particular supply was produced.
      Indicates the product's reference or item number. Your 180 Medical specialist may ask you to find this number to determine what item you have on hand.
       Manufacturer. This picture will be next to the name and address of the manufacturer.
   Date of manufacture. Next to this symbol, you will see a date with 4 digits indicating the year and 2 following digits indicating the month that this product was produced/manufactured in (YYYY-MM).
  Use By. Next to this small hourglass symbol, you will see the expiration date with 4 digits indicating the year and 2 following digits indicating the month (YYYY-MM).
    By prescription only. U.S. Federal Law restricts this device to sale on order of a physician only.
   Method of sterilization by Ethylene Oxide.
   Method of sterilization using irradiation.
   Method of sterilization using dry heat or steam.
   Not sterilized. You may see this on products such as non-sterile gloves.
   Instructions are available to read or consult.

As always, if you ever have a question about this or anything else regarding your supplies or service with 180 Medical, please feel free to give us a call!

Source for regulated symbols: www.fda.gov


About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for almost 5 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company! She loves writing, art, music, and spending time with friends and family.
 

Tips On Holiday Traveling With Catheters

by Jessica December 20, 2013 03:22

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  And with the holidays fast approaching, many of you may have a trip scheduled to visit family, friends, and other loved ones. For those of you who self-catheterize or are a caretaker for someone who must use intermittent catheters, you may have some concerns about the journey ahead – whether by plane, train, or automobile!

We here at 180 Medical want to offer you some tips for your holiday travels!

Flying? Be prepared for TSA security screenings.
  • Remember the 3-1-1 rule for carry-on luggage. If you are carrying a separate lubricant, sterile water/saline, or disinfectant, it is safe to bring aboard the airplane as long as it is 3.4 oz or less in volume. It must fit in 1 quart-sized clear plastic zip-top baggie. Only one bag per passenger is allowed.
  • If you are bringing catheters in your carry-on luggage, any lubricant, sterile water packets, etc., will need to be included in the quart-size baggie.
  • If you’re scheduled for a longer trip, it may be best to put larger volumes of liquids in your checked luggage.
Keep adequate stock on hand.
  • Before you head out on your trip, you’ll want to make sure to pack enough catheters and any other related supplies with you in your luggage to last throughout the trip at the very least. It may be advisable to include a few extras in case of any emergency or any unexpected delays due to the weather, etc.
  • If you’re planning on an extended stay at your destination, consider shipping your supplies there instead of checking them in your luggage. This not only frees up space in your suitcase for clothes, presents, souvenirs, or other personal items, but you can also make sure you have the supplies when you need them -- no need to worry about your luggage getting lost or delayed. If you know in advance where you’ll be staying, you can even request your next order from 180 Medical to be shipped to your destination’s address (in the U.S.A.).
Talk to a 180 Medical specialist about trying out a travel-ready catheter.
  • When you’re traveling, you’re making a lot of stops in public restrooms, hotel rooms, etc., and a sterile environment just isn’t a guarantee! Consider trying an intermittent catheter that is specifically designed to be “touch-free” and travel-ready, like a closed-system or a pre-lubricated catheter (dependent upon what your insurance covers).  Often these catheters also include insertion supplies like antiseptic wipes and gloves to further reduce risk of UTIs. Give us a call today to discuss your options with a one of 180’s trained specialists at 877-688-2729.
  • For personal tips on airline travel from 180 Medical’s own employee, Bill, check out his article from earlier this year. Bill has been using catheters for over 20 years and has plenty of experience traveling as a person in a wheelchair.

Feel free to give us a call if you have further questions about your supplies and your travel plans. We’ll be glad to help you out.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from all of us at 180 Medical!

Do you have any advice or tips to give for others traveling with their catheters? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for four years and currently holds the title of Purchasing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such fun, caring company! She loves writing, music, and spending time with friends and family.
 

5 Things You Should Know About Intermittent Catheters

by Jessica November 7, 2013 15:16
1. Just as no one person is the same, intermittent catheters are not all exactly the same. There are various types to fit your preferences and needs (closed system catheters, hydrophilic catheters, straight tip catheters, coude tip catheters, female and male length catheters, etc.)

2.  Intermittent catheters also come in a range of different sizes. There are even tiny pediatric catheters for infants! Catheters are measured by the external diameter of the catheter tube, and this is commonly called a “French size.” You can tell the French size of a catheter by the color of its funnel end. See our chart for the funnel colors and the related French sizes. Your prescribing health practitioner will work with you to determine the best French size for your needs. If you are having problems with the size (for instance, if it feels difficult to insert or if it takes too long for the urine to drain), give your physician a call to discuss adjustments. As one of the largest catheter suppliers in the nation, we likely have the size you need!

3. There are ways to reduce the risk of recurrent UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections), such as using catheters sterilely (using it once and then disposing of it – see #4). You can also make sure to wash hands thoroughly prior to catheterization, wear sterile gloves, and touch the catheter tube itself as little as possible when using regular straight catheters. Options such as hydrophilic, pre-lubricated or closed system catheters can minimize the risk because they do not require manual lubrication and are “touchless” for the most part. Many catheters can also be provided with insertion supplies, such as gloves, disinfectant wipes, and more.  For more detailed information on how to reduce UTIs, please see our article at http://www.180medical.com/Reduce-UTIs.

4. Intermittent catheters should be used once only and then thrown away. The FDA (Food & Drug Administration of the United States) regulates all intermittent catheters as single-use devices and do not approve these to be washed and reused. Catheters often have unique features such as crevices, angles, and porous surfaces that create barriers for cleaning and are capable of quick bacterial growth, even after professional cleanings in independent studies. Using catheters more than once can increase the risk of UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections).  For more information, see our article about the risks of reusing catheters.

5. Think you’re stuck paying out of pocket for your catheters? Most major insurance plans, including Medicare, will cover enough intermittent catheters for sterile use. See our handy insurance guide here. Give us a call, and we can verify your insurance policy and let you know your plan’s current coverage for intermittent catheters and related urological supplies.

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for four years and currently holds the title of Purchasing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such fun, caring company! She loves writing, music, and spending time with friends and family.
  

Insurance Open Enrollment Has Begun!

by Jessica October 22, 2013 12:59
With the new changes being implemented by the Affordable Care Act, you may already be looking to enroll in an insurance plan or change your existing insurance coverage. Or you may be somewhat in the dark about what this change means for you! 180 Medical wants to make sure you have the information you need to get the best coverage for your situation.

Open enrollment time for the Health Insurance Marketplace on began on October 1st and ends on March 31, 2014, and it will occur once a year going forward. During this window of time, those who are eligible can choose the health insurance that works best for their particular needs. You may be able to pick and choose among various options like monthly premium costs, deductibles, co-pays, and dropping or adding coverage. 

If you have Medicare or Medicaid, or if your employer chooses your insurance plan, or you are satisfied with your current insurance plan, you do not have to do or change anything.

Are you eligible and considering changing your current insurance provider? Before making a selection, ensure you will keep continued access to the best service available in today’s market and contact us! This way you check to see if 180 Medical participates in your new plan’s network. We are in network and accept many private insurance plans, along with Medicare and most Medicaid programs.

To learn more about Open Enrollment Period, please go to www.healthcare.gov. For more information about how the health care law works for you and what your options may be, check out the user-friendly http://healthlawanswers.aarp.org/.


About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for four years and currently holds the title of Purchasing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such fun, caring company! She loves writing, music, and spending time with friends and family.
 

Cure Medical Releases Cure U Pocket Catheter

by Jessica October 14, 2013 12:06
Cure Medical has recently released a new product: the Cure U! This catheter combines Cure’s top quality assurance (DEHP, BPA, and latex-free with fire-polished eyelets) with flexibility and a U-shaped packaging. The convenient curved packaging can be really helpful for men who wish to discreetly take their catheter products without having to carry a bag with them.
cure medical pocket catheter
Straight catheters for men are normally packaged in a straight parcel, which are usually at least 16 inches or longer. With the Cure U, the curved catheter nearly halves the length of the packaging without sacrificing cure medical pocket catheterthe actual length or quality of the catheter. The Cure U was designed to be easily tucked into a pants pocket for a more discreet method of carrying a personal catheter with you wherever you go.

Currently, the new Cure U is offered in straight tip 12, 14, and 16 French sizes.

If you’re interested in trying these out, please give us a call at 1-877-688-2729 and speak to one of our trained Catheter Specialists for more information.

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for four years and currently holds the title of Purchasing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such fun, caring company! She loves writing, music, and spending time with friends and family.

   

Join 180 Medical Kids Club, Now Also in Spanish

by Trish August 30, 2013 16:50
The 180 Medical Kids Club was created to ease the fears of families like yours that have been told your child needs to catheterize. Now our colorful, informative booklets come in Spanish! We'll help you adjust to this new way of life with one-of-a-kind educational materials and fun activities for your child. These will teach you and your child how to use catheters correctly to help reduce the occurrence of infections.


Meet Ethan and Emma!

Ethan is just like any other 10 year old boy - he likes playing games with friends, playing basketball, and going to school. He gets around a little easier with his wheelchair and likes to race and learn new tricks.

Emma is Ethan's twin sister. She likes to play with dolls, go to the zoo, and swim. 

Both Ethan and Emma have something called spina bifida. According to the Spina Bifida Association, it occurs when the spine of a baby fails to close during the first months of pregnancy. Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. It affects everyone differently. Both Ethan and Emma have what is called a neurogenic bladder which requires them to use urinary catheters.

In Emma Can Cath and Ethan Can Cath, each colorful booklet has a story highlighting independence, which can be difficult for some children who catheterize. The booklets also include a parent’s guide, with types of catheters, catheter basics, and a guide assisting parents on making the decision of when their child is ready to self-cath. The last few pages of each book have detailed instructions on how to use a closed system catheter, hydrophilic catheter, straight catheter, and how to catheterize through a stoma with colorful illustrations, showing girls and boys how to cath. The booklets also include a coloring page, and a cathing diary where children or parents can log the date, time, input, output, and leakage.

180 Medical is committed to educating, and supporting our patients and their families.

About the Author:
Trish Eklund has worked for 180 Medical for almost three years, as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska, with her husband and daughters. She is a feature writer for www.bigblendedfamily.com and www.herviewfromhome.com.


 

LoFric Catheters Change to POBE Material

by Jessica August 19, 2013 09:03
Here at 180 Medical, we always want to make sure that each of our customers are well-educated on the products they use and if there are any changes to their supplies that may affect them.

As of July 2013, Wellspect Healthcare will be updating the material of their LoFric® straight hydrophilic intermittent catheters from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) to a cutting-edge new material called POBE (polyolefin-based elastomer), which is free of both PVC, softeners, latex, and DEHP.

The primary benefit for you is that POBE-based catheter tubes are more resilient, and the overall discomfort of the entire catheterization process (from insertion to withdrawal) decreases when using the POBE (PVC-free) LoFric® catheter. POBE is already widely utilized in a multitude of safety-proven medical devices, and the majority of users prefer the POBE material over the PVC when given the choice.

Only the catheter material itself has been changed – each catheter will still have the special hydrophilic coating (Urotonic™ Surface Technology) that alleviates friction and provides extra comfort for you during catheterization.

During the remainder of 2013, all PVC LoFric® catheters will be switched over to POBE, and as a result of the transition, you may receive partial shipments of the PVC and POBE catheters until the remainder of our PVC stock has completely run out.

Please feel free to give us a call if there are any questions or concerns, and any one of our Client Specialists will be glad to help you out!


About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for four years and currently holds the title of Purchasing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such fun, caring company! She loves writing, music, and spending time with friends and family.

   

Tips for Self-Catheterization for Beginners

by Catheter Experts July 24, 2013 15:28
Self-catheterization has improved the quality of life for thousands of people who rely on catheter use for their health.  The ability to be able to insert and remove catheters has helped give people a higher level of independence and a better quality of life, but some people who are new to catheters can feel a little nervous when they first start doing it on their own.  We have a handy guide for both male, female, and pediatric self-catherization that can help answer a lot of your questions about proper catheter insertion.  But for now our blog post can tell you the basic things you need to know before you start inserting your catheter on your own.

Stay Hydrated and Relaxed

Drink plenty of fluids to keep your system well hydrated.  Also, if you are too tense then you may have difficulty inserting the catheter. Therefore try to relax by taking a few deep breaths. 

Don't Reuse

Most people choose to use a new sterile disposable catheter each time they need to self-catheterize. Keep in mind that the FDA has guidelines that say all urinary catheters are to be considered single-use only devices. The guidelines are stamped on every intermittent catheter packaging.

Know the Signs of a Problem

If you run into problems when you first start inserting your own catheter, make sure it is not a sign of a serious problem.  Don't hesitate to call your doctor if you start to experience these problems:

  • Painful insertion (Ask your doctor about switching to a hydrophilic catheter. These catheters are coated with a hydrophilic polymer that becomes smoother and slippery when wet, which will provide a much more comfortable insertion.)

  • Frequent urination

  • Blood in Urine

  • Absence of urine for 6-8 hours while on catheterization schedule

Remember if you have questions about certain catheter products; be sure to contact 180 Medical for all of your catheter needs.