Catheter Connection

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

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 For more information about how the health care law works for you and what your options may be, check out the user-friendly

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 and


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.

Coudé Catheters

by Trish June 25, 2013 09:58
A coudé-tip catheter is a catheter with a slight curve or bend in the insertion tip. Using a coudé or curved tip catheter makes it easier for some men to thread the catheter past their prostate. Coudé-tip catheters are also good for anyone with narrowing of the urethra and that have any blockages in their urethral pathway.

Jake Klein, MS, CPNP and Director of Urological Surgical Reconstruction and Continence Center and Continence Specialist at OU Medicine Department of Urology, gave us some examples of other instances where coudé catheters could be used:

  • Adults with prior prostate surgery or resection
  • Young boys with posterior urethral valves
  • Patients with either a urethral or stomal false passes
  • Patients that have had chemo or radiation to the urethral area
  • Males with urethral stricture disease secondary to hypospadais repairs or urethral trauma
180 Medical offers a variety of the top coudé-tip catheters. Coudé-tip catheter products come in intermittent catheter, hydrophilic catheter, or closed system catheter options. People who catheterize on a regular basis know that one size catheter does not fit all.

Types of Coudé Catheters

There are different types of coudé catheters available such as an olive tip, Tiemann tip or tapered tip. Coudé catheters can also have a guide stripe that allows you to monitor the catheter tip more easily during insertion.

The olive-tip catheter has a tip that is shaped like a round ball, which is easier to insert past obstructions if any exist in the passage way. The olive tip allows you to get past tissue that a tapered tip might get caught on – such as edge of tissue. 

The tapered tip can navigate through strictures and stomal hitches very well as they have more of a smooth upward point. 

If you have questions about different types of coudé catheters available, please contact our catheter specialists at (877) 688-2729.

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 and

Do Catheters Expire?

by Trish May 27, 2013 08:39
It is important to all of us at 180 Medical to answer common questions for our patients regarding catheterizing.

If new to catheterizing, you have probably wondered if intermittent catheters expire. If they do expire, what is the harm?

According to catheter manufacturer Teleflex Medical’s global labeling policy, catheter labels require an expiration date or some other means by which users may be assured of the quality at the time of use. Expiration dates are solely for package integrity and sterility. Typically the catheters themselves do not breakdown once expired, but the sterility can be compromised after the expiration date.

Catheter Expiration Date
Additionally if you are using a hydrophilic catheter that has sterile water to activate the lubricant enclosed in the kit, the expiration date indicates the tested time during which sterility of this water can be maintained. From our experience there is more of a chance that the sterile water may be dried up or become cloudy after the expiration date.

180 Medical recommends that our customers use catheters prior to the expiration date to take any possible step to create a sterile environment and help prevent any unnecessary infections.

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 and

Catheter options for limited hand dexterity

by billf May 13, 2013 10:32
Bill has been helping patients transition to life using urinary catheters with limited hand dexterity for almost ten years. Speaking from experience, Bill knows what our patients are going through. He was injured in a motocross accident over 22 years ago. He discusses catheter options for those with limited hand dexterity.

Advanced Catheters

"Depending on your insurance coverage, you might be eligible for a more advanced catheter. These catheters are usually hydrophilic, which means they do not require lubrication. They have a special coating that is activated when introduced to water. Most of these catheters have water packets, which you must break open and let the catheter saturate in the water for about 30 seconds to activate the coating. The catheter becomes very slippery, which can make them more difficult to hold onto for some patients. Some of these catheters have sleeves around them to make it easier to grasp. These catheters are better than the regular catheter with lubrication. The catheter stays lubricated while in the urethra, which reduces trauma, pain, and irritation to the urethra.

Catheter Types

180 Medical carries many different brands of hydrophilic and closed system catheters. The company, MTG, offers a closed system catheter that is specifically designed for people with limited hand dexterity. I prefer a closed system catheter because it is the most convenient catheter, especially when you are away from home in foreign surroundings. I use the hydrophilic closed system catheter called the MMG H2O. I use this catheter because it goes in easier for me due to a slight stricture I have.

A lot of people that have dexterity issues have a hard time popping the water pocket.  I can pop it by placing it in between my two palms and pushing them together and squeezing it. Some people prefer to lay it on the table and hit it. I have to use what is called the cheater method. Basically, I get the catheter out first and use it like you would a regular catheter. This defeats the purpose of the introducer tip, but I must use a hydrophilic catheter due to a stricture.  As I mentioned earlier, I am able to hold the catheter between my forefinger on one hand and the thumb on my other hand. This gives me a really good grip on the catheter. There is also a device called a quadriplegic catheter inserter which is designed specifically for quadriplegics.  It is a spring loaded clamp that fits around the catheter to aid those who cannot grasp the catheter.”

If you're interested in trying different brands of hydrophilic catheters and closed-system catheters, have one of our catheter specialists make sure your insurance covers A4353 catheters.

Another one of the best catheters for someone with very limited hand dexterity, whether male or female, is the MTG EZ-Gripper. The latex-free MTG EZ-Gripper is a self-contained, pre-lubricated, closed system catheter. From start to finish, the user will not need the fine motor skills of hands or fingers to cath. The packaging is fitted with finger holes for easy opening, and easy filling and draining.
MTG E-Z Advancer catheter, with patented EZ-Advancer valve system enhances ease of use. Equipped with soft silicone and an introducer tip to reduce risk of infection, it comes with insertion supplies and bag.

Another popular catheter for limited hand dexterity is the Coloplast Self-Cath Closed System Kit. 100% Silicone, latex-free unisex catheter system designed to reduce the occurrence of urinary tract infections and reduce trauma to the urethra. It features an Easy-off tear tab, which makes it easier to use even for those with limited hand dexterity. Includes insertion supplies.

Catheter Insurance Coverage

Some insurance companies do not cover closed-system or hydrophilic catheters, and some will cover them, with additional documentation from your doctor. If you are unable to obtain closed-system or hydrophilic catheters, Bill has some insight on how to catheterize with a regular straight catheter and lubricant.

“The biggest issue with using straights and lubricant, with limited hand dexterity, is opening the lubricant packet. The easiest way is to use a tube of lubricant. The problem with this is if interested in trying a more advanced catheter, Medicare guidelines require the one-time use of one packet with every catheter. Using a tube is not considered sterile according to Medicare guidelines.  Also, I use antibacterial wipes called Big Ones to wipe off the tip of my urethra as well as my hands before handling the catheter.

There is no easy way to open the lubrication packets. The only ways I have found is to rip them open with your teeth or to use a pair of scissors. We do offer one brand of lubricant that comes in a paper packet which makes it a little easier to open.

I am available to discuss these issues, as that is part of my job here.  So if you do have any questions regarding catheterizing, please do not hesitate to give me a call.”—Bill

Also see Learning to Self Catheterization with Limited Hand Dexterity.

Image Credit

About the Authors:

Bill has worked for 180 Medical for almost ten years in various positions within the company. He works at the180 Medical corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City, OK. He often speaks to customers about adjusting to life after a spinal cord injury. Read more about Bill here.

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 and