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Advantages of Intermittent Cathing

by Jessica January 19 2016 15:38
You may have heard the term “intermittent catheterization” before, but you may not be completely clear as to what it means. Intermittent catheterization is the process of using a catheter to drain your bladder on a regular or semi-regular basis, rather than letting the catheter stay inside the bladder to continually drain the bladder into a collection bag (an indwelling or foley catheter is used for that purpose).  Typically, this is only required when there is something hindering the bladder’s ability to void urine naturally. An intermittent catheter offers many advantages and health benefits; read on to better understand intermittent catheterization and how it can help you.

The Purpose of Intermittent Catheterization

Intermittent catheterization is commonly used by those who experience incontinence, bladder problems, or urinary retention. Those who have a spinal cord injury, spina bifida, or a neurological problem also often require the use of intermittent catheters to drain their bladders. It may also be used temporarily after certain surgeries such as prostate surgery or an abdominal hysterectomy.  
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Your healthcare practitioner will instruct you on how to properly use an intermittent catheter, including how often you will need to drain your bladder based on your needs. Because catheters come in different types and sizes, your doctor will also help you determine which one is best for you and your condition. 180 Medical helps make shopping for catheters fast and easy, as you can conveniently see our selection of catheters online.

The Benefits of Intermittent Catheterization

  • It's Fairly Simple: While it may seem a little intimidating at first, self-cathing can become a relatively quick and simple procedure after a little bit of practice. Many people are able to catheterize themselves, or do so with the help of a caregiver.
  • It’s an Effective Solution: Neglecting to empty your bladder regularly can lead to urinary tract infections or even bladder infections. Intermittent catheterization is an effective solution to helping those who have difficulty emptying their bladders and helping prevent such health problems if done correctly. 
  • It’s Safe to Use: Compared to indwelling foley catheters, intermittent catheters have been found to cause less infections. Since foley catheters stay in the body for longer periods of time, urinary tract infections can become a constant problem for some.  By using an intermittent catheter, the chance of experiencing these side effects is greatly reduced. 
  • Inexpensive: Some healthcare and medical products can be relatively expensive out of pocket. Depending on your insurance provider, they may or may not cover certain items. Intermittent straight catheters are often the best option for those who are uninsured or underinsured, because they are rather inexpensive. 
  • Promotes Independence: Because intermittent catheters allow you to gain control of your bladder and care for yourself, they help promote independence and, more importantly, allow you a better quality of life.

 If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how we can offer you quality catheters along with top-notch service, please contact our catheter specialists at 1-877-688-2729 or via our Live Chat feature online.

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What Is a Closed System Catheter?

by Jessica December 1 2015 12:49

You may already be aware that intermittent catheters come in all kinds, materials, sizes, and brands. Each person that needs to use catheters has their own preferences and particular needs that will determine what type of catheter may work best for them, whether that’s a regular straight catheter, a catheter with a coude tip, hydrophilic catheters, male or female or pediatric length, or a more advanced product called a closed system catheter. Today, we’re going to shed some light on exactly what a closed system catheter is and break down each component of this product, along with the benefits, including how it can possibly help make one’s self-catheterization routine easier and more hygienic. 


A closed system catheter is, at a quick glance, a self-contained, sterile, pre-lubricated catheter housed within a collection bag. The collection bag eliminates the need to void the urine into a receptacle or toilet, and since it’s already self-containing, it also eliminates the need to hook up any other kind of bag or container. It’s basically ready to use once it has been opened. These systems often include other features to help assist with the catheterization process and keep everything more sterile. As with all other types of catheters, its main function is to drain the bladder of all urine in a comfortable, smooth process while minimizing risk of bacterial infection of the urinary tract and/or bladder.


While there will definitely be some variance between brands, the majority of closed system catheters will have the same basic parts, as you can see in the below diagram.
closed system catheter


Many brands offer insertion supplies to help assist in the catheterization routine, which may include an opaque refuse/trash bag to hide/store the used catheter system, antiseptic wipes (typically povidone-iodine or BZK) to disinfect hands and the area of insertion, gloves to keep hands covered and reduce risk of infection, additional lubrication to make the catheter insertion more smooth (if needed), and a sterile underpad to set supplies or to protect your from any residual liquid. 


For more detailed information regarding how to catheterize, please call one of our trained specialists at 1-877-688-2729 so we can walk you through that process. 180 Medical also has one-of-a-kind catheterization instruction materials we can send to you with your order, including a step by step DVD and detailed, colorful brochures, as well as online instructions for our customers.


There are a few potential advantages of using a closed system catheter. It can be especially helpful for those with limited dexterity and/or in wheelchairs. The self-contained collection bag eliminates the need to try to find another receptacle, such as a separate bag, toilet/urinal, or other container for such purpose. One can catheterize from the wheelchair or any place with privacy.

Another benefit is the helpful introducer tip, which bypasses the first few millimeters of the urethra (where the majority of bacteria collect), allowing the catheter itself to pass through the urethra while minimizing risk of infection.

It’s a much more sterile process, because the catheter can be inserted without ever touching the actual tube, which can also lessen the possibility of bacterial contamination.


It's highly likely, as many brands of closed system catheters will offer straight or coude tip, pediatric sizes, male or female length, various materials such as vinyl and red rubber, and a range of the common French sizes.


180 Medical proudly carries catheters from all of the leading manufacturers and brands available today. Take a look at our online catheter showcase to view a few of the available options.


Just contact 180 Medical by filling out our online inquiry form, connect to us via our online Live Chat, or give us a call at 1-877-688-2729 to speak to one of our highly trained, friendly specialists. We are happy to help you find the right catheter for your needs, and we can verify your insurance to determine if and how these products are covered on your policy.

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Understanding the Difference Between Catheter Types

by Jessica November 19 2015 18:27
Getting acclimated to using a catheter on a regular basis can seem daunting at first, whatever the reason for the need. After all, it can feel like a big change in regards to your life and daily schedule. Finding out as much information as you can about catheterization can help you feel more comfortable with the process overall. The very first thing you're probably going to want to understand will be the differences between the various types of catheters that are available to you. As always, consult your doctor before purchasing or using any sort of medical device. 
gentlecath catheters

Let's examine the main two types of urological catheters:

Indwelling Foley Catheters

If your doctor has determined that you'll need to use a catheter for a long period of time (or even indefinitely), and an intermittent catheter is not an option for whatever reason, then you may have an indwelling, or foley, catheter inserted. This type of catheter is usually inserted at your healthcare practitioner's office. They are usually inserted through the urethra (unless this is no longer a viable entry-point, in which case they can be surgically placed through a stoma) and are held in place by a small balloon that is inflated once the insertion tip has reached the bladder. The downside of using a foley catheter is that it can leave you more susceptible to urinary tract and/or bladder infections, since it is left inside the body for long periods of time. 

Intermittent Catheters

These types of catheters are inserted to drain the bladder and then thrown away. Your doctor or healthcare practitioner will teach you how to insert the catheter yourself, since you will likely be doing this on a regular basis. Your doctor will let you know how often to drain your bladder with a catheter, based on your individual needs. They come in a variety of options: straight tip, coude tip, varying lengths (male, female, pediatric), pre-lubricated, hydrophilic, and closed systems with collection bags

There are many factors when it comes to choosing from the various types of catheters. Your healthcare practitioner will help you determine which kind will be best for you. It's a good idea to also do proper research for yourself or the loved one in your life that will be relying on a catheter for any amount of time. Depending on your needs, you may also want or even require a few accessories such as disinfecting wipes, gloves, underpads, drain bags, etc. 

With the right research and professional guidance, you'll be able to make this transition as easily as possible. Contact us at 180 Medical to get the right intermittent catheter for you. 

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Does It Matter What Brand of Catheter You Use?

by Jessica November 10 2015 11:57
For some, the topic of catheters can seem overwhelming, especially for individuals who are new to learning to self-cath. Whether you'll be using intermittent catheters temporarily or on a long-term basis, you’ll be surprised by how simple the process can be once you’re familiar with it. Don’t get too overwhelmed by all the information out there, and know that you are not alone when it comes to catheterization. Plenty of people every day begin to self-cath and are becoming more comfortable with it as they go. Just take it one day at a time.

gentlecath closedOne point of confusion about catheters that our customers sometimes encounter is trying to figure out which particular product to use. While your doctor will serve as a great resource in determining what type of catheter is best for you to use, there are some decisions you can make on your own, such as what brand of catheter to buy. 

So, does it really matter what brand of catheter you use? There are some product differences from brand to brand, but when you get your catheter supply from a reliable source, you can feel comfortable in knowing you’ll be taken care of. Reputable and well-known medical supply companies such as 180 Medical carry a wide selection of quality products from all of the top brands today, so you can rest assured that you’ll find the right product for your needs. 

Even so, there are leading brands in the industry with which you might want to be familiar: Bard, Coloplast, GentleCath, HollisterMTG, Rochester, Rusch, LoFric, Cure, and Hi-Slip, just to name a few.


180 Medical is proud to carry a wide array of products from these well-known brands and many others. When you order your intermittent catheters from 180 Medical, you can be sure you're receiving a quality product. Adjusting to life with a catheter can take time, so it's our goal to make the process of purchasing them as easy and convenient as possible. We have one-of-a-kind instructional materials available as well, which can help you see and understand the self-cathing procedures with step-by-step catheterization instructions in print and on DVD. We have material available for men, women, girls, and boys. We also have catheter users on staff who can share their experiences and tips.

Contact us today to discuss your options and find the right brand for your needs!

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4 Things to Look For When You Need Female Catheters

by Jessica October 1 2015 17:53
Whether you have just been instructed to start using intermittent catheters or you’ve been using them for years, it’s understandably pretty tough to find the right female catheter supplier who meets all of your needs. There are many catheter suppliers out there making big claims about what they have to offer, but not all are equal in terms of giving you unparalleled service on all fronts. Here are some things to look for as you seek out the right company for your intermittent catheter supply needs.

1. Personalized, superior customer service.

Your time is valuable, and your medical needs should be a top priority to a supplier. Look for companies that deliver unparalleled customer service. Instead of long hold times or automated menus, a company that cares about your needs will deliver a quick response time from a live person when you call customer support or access live chat on their website.  When you speak with someone, you should be treated as more than just another number. Good supply companies will have knowledgeable representatives who really listen, understand your needs, and help find the right intermittent female catheter for you, based on your prescription, lifestyle, preferences and prior experiences.  

2. Specialization in catheters.

180 medical 100 satisfaction guaranteeThere are lots of medical supply companies out there, but not all of them focus specifically on catheters. Companies that deal with all kinds of medical supplies may seem like a convenient option, but their brand and product availability may be limited, and their staff may not be very well-educated on what type of catheter might be best for your needs. 180 Medical, however, specializes only in intermittent catheters and ostomy products, so they carry all major brands and types, and their trained staff is educated about the product lines they offer and the advantages of each. With employees on staff who are also catheter-users, this particular company can provide firsthand guidance and information on purchasing and using catheters that other companies may not be able to do.

3. Direct Shipping.

Why inconvenience yourself by having to pick up supplies from a pharmacy or paying for shipping each time you order, when you can get your catheter supply delivered directly to your doorstep for free? This not only saves you time and money, it also protects your privacy. A good online female catheter outlet can ship the exact product you need quickly with no hassle.

4. They take care of the paperwork for you.

You’re already dealing with enough in your life. There’s no need to act as the middle man between your doctor’s office and your catheter supplier or have to figure out all the insurance paperwork for billing. Look for a company that can communicate directly with your physician for any needed documentation and bill your insurance for you.

180 Medical can do all this and more for you. Contact us today 
at (877) 688-2729.

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What to Know About Rusch Catheters

by Jessica September 22 2015 21:04
Rusch catheters are one of the many established and trusted name-brand catheters that 180 Medical carries in their inventory.  Before you order or use any catheter, it's important to make sure you know everything you need to in order to ensure safety and effectiveness. Here are the basics to think about before choosing a catheter:

  1. Only use a catheter when recommended by your doctor and with proper training – Even though they are frequently used in the home environment, catheters are medical devices and must be used carefully. Only use a catheter when your doctor has recommended it. If your doctor recommends that you discontinue, do not keep using it. Most importantly, catheters should be inserted only by those with the proper training, which means that you will need assistance with them until you have been properly taught. The good news is that you can be shown by the nurse or doctor and can learn how to cath very quickly. 

  2. Make sure you're choosing the right product – No brand is exactly like another. Ask your doctor for their recommendation on what sort of catheter is most appropriate for your particular needs. 180 Medical carries a wide selection of intermittent catheters from all of the most quality brands on the market today, washing hands and Rusch also has a varied line of catheters to give plenty of options. This is good to know, because not every product is going to work for everyone and their specific needs. Ask your doctor for their recommendation on what sort of catheter is appropriate in your particular case. You will also want to get the correct length of catheter, which will be based on whether you are male or female, and the dimensions of your particular body. Females may sometimes prefer male length for more room to grip the catheter, which is also perfectly fine. 

  3. Ensure proper insertion – All intermittent catheters are sterile and in packaging, but you may want to clean the area surrounding your urethra to minimize the amount of bacteria and lessen the risk of infection. Depending on the type of catheter you get, you may need to lubricate it for the smoothest insertion. Regular straight catheters may require this, while pre-lubricated, closed system, and hydrophilic catheters will not. Without lubrication, insertion can be painful and even cause damage and irritation to your urethra. This also increases the risk of infection, so having a properly lubricated catheter is a must. After the bladder has been emptied, the catheter should be removed, thrown away, and the area cleaned again. You should always wash your hands thoroughly both before and after the catheterization process.

 If you have any other questions or concerns, talk to your doctor or contact us at 180 Medical! We have the expertise to help you find the right catheter for your needs!

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Catheterizing in Public Restrooms

by Jessica June 10 2015 08:02
bill f pictureMy name is Bill, and I have worked for 180 Medical for over 10 years. Nearly 26 years ago, I was involved in a motocross accident that rendered me quadriplegic. You can learn more about my story here. Over the years since then, I've been able to help and counsel others who are also dealing with life after a spinal cord injury. I am happiest when I am helping others, and these days at 180 Medical, I spend a lot of time just talking to our customers on the phone who are new to catheterizing.

One thing I get a lot of questions about is self-catheterization in public restrooms. Naturally, people new to cathing can sometimes feel a little unsure about this - from discretion to how to be as clean as possible while cathing. While some people can schedule their daily plans around their cathing routine so they can be at home when it’s time to self-catheterize, this can be limiting for those who travel, work, or have an active lifestyle. For most people, there’s not a guarantee you’ll always be at home in the comfort of your own bathroom when it is time to catheterize and empty the bladder. I’ve even spoken to some individuals who have skipped cathing to avoid having to do so in a public place, but this is not advisable, as you could be damaging your bladder and kidneys by holding urine in too long.

As a catheter-user myself, I thought I could help to shed some light on the best methods for self-cathing when you’re not at home. We hope this helps you with some ideas on how to make self-cathing away from home as easy and safe as possible.

Transporting Supplies

When planning to catheterize away from your home, whether traveling, working, or just having a day out and about, there are different ways of transporting your supplies with discretion and ease.
  • To make the catheter more discreet when carrying it, you can fold the catheter into a soft U-shape or wrap it around your hand into a circle. You just want to make sure you don’t get a kink in the catheter as this could make it difficult to use. We do offer a male length catheter that comes packaged already in a U-shape for those who don’t like to fold their catheters.  Some people are able to carry their supplies in a pocket. We also offer compact catheters, which may or may not be covered by your insurance (you can inquire with us to have your coverage verified).
  • For carrying supplies, I have heard of people using everything from their cases for eyeglasses to small bags. I talked to one gentleman who carries his supplies in a briefcase, so he has a hard surface to set his supplies on.
  • A lot of wheelchair users carry their supplies in a backpack and hang it on the back of their chair.
  • There are many different options in how to carry your supplies. With some time, you can find what will work best for you.

Sterile Preparation and Catheterization

When you are catheterizing in your own personal surroundings, you are not exposed to as many germs and bacteria that you could possibly encounter when catheterizing in a public restroom facility. You just wash your hands at the sink, go to your toilet or the area designated for your routine, and prepare your supplies accordingly.  

But when you are in a public facility, you never know what the surroundings will be like. It's important to keep the process as sterile as possible so that you can lower your risk of any infection.

Maintaining Sterility

Before you enter the stall, be sure to wash your hands with washing hands before catheterizationsoap and water. Once you have entered the stall, there probably won’t be a good, clean surface to set your supplies on. You could bring a paper towel from home to set your supplies on. Some people set their supplies on whatever they use to carry them in. You can sit on the toilet or in your wheelchair and prepare things in your lap.

The first thing you want to do is make sure your hands and the area of insertion are as clean as possible before inserting a catheter. You will have already washed your hands before entering the stall, and you may also want to use an antibacterial wipe to clean the area of insertion.

Often, if you are using a closed system or catheter with a kit, you will have wipes or swabs included to use. Some people like to apply some antibacterial gel on their hands as an extra precautionary measure. Many people also use gloves, which is especially helpful when you are in a public restroom. Often these are included with catheter kits as well. All of this would depend on what your insurance covers, however.

Lubricating Your Catheter

lubricating your catheterIf you are using a catheter with a lubrication packet separately, you may face a few more challenges than you might with an advanced product such as pre-lubricated catheters or catheters with insertion supplies.  

With time, you will figure out your own preferred method of applying lubricant to your catheter. Some people are able to tear the lubrication packet open at both ends and run the catheter through the inside of the packet to lubricate it. Some people have limited dexterity or strength, so opening the packet may require scissors which would need to be carried with the rest of your supplies.

Another option of application that I've heard is to open the catheter packaging, leave the catheter sitting inside and then apply lubrication to it. You can also open the catheter packaging about a third of the way down and squeeze the lubrication into the packaging and when pulling the catheter out drag it through the lubrication.

If you are using a pre-lubricated catheter, it should be ready to use right out of the packaging. Hydrophilic catheters will require application of water (usually included in a packet along with the catheter) in order for the lubrication to be activated. Some hydrophilic catheter brands include an easy handling sleeve to help you with handling the catheter and guiding it during insertion without actually touching the surface of the catheter tube.

Catheterization Process

Once you've prepped your supplies, sterilized your hands and the area of insertion, and made sure your catheter is lubricated, you are now ready to catheterize. Once you finish, you can then wipe off your hands and urethra and throw away the used contents in the nearest trash receptacle. Never flush a catheter, collection bag, wipes, or other catheterization accessories down a toilet.

180 Medical has one-of-a-kind catheterization instructional materials available for you to help demonstrate the catheterization procedure including easy-to-understand catheter videos and catheter insertion instructions. We have separate materials available for men, women, girls, and boys.

Have questions? Just give us a call or send us a chat online during business hours. Our staff of catheter experts will be ready to answer any catheterization questions you may have or walk you through the cathing process.  

bill bio pic 180 medical employee
Bill has worked for 180 Medical for over 10 years. He loves getting to talk to our customers, sharing his first-hand experiences as a quadriplegic, and helping those with in-depth questions about self-catheterization. He enjoys spending time outdoors, as well as watching and attending motocross events. Learn more about Bill's story.

LoFric Catheters an Option at 180 Medical

by Jessica June 3 2015 12:41
If you have some experience with catheters, then you probably know that the brand and style of catheter can make a big difference in terms of comfort and results. You may have even tried a catheter that was just not right for you at all, leading to discomfort and irritation. And that can be a real problem when you need to use a catheter multiple times a day. You want the catheterization process to be as smooth and comfortable as possible.  

180 Medical carries a wide variety of intermittent catheters from the leading manufacturers and brands available on the market today. We also have a well-trained staff of friendly, knowledgeable customer specialists who can help you with your catheter choice, based on your insurance coverage and personal needs. One of the many brands we offer is Wellspect's line of hydrophilic intermittent catheters called LoFric, which is available in models for men, women, and children. Formerly known as AstraTech, Wellspect has been making high-quality, innovative medical devices for over 65 years now.

The LoFric line of catheters offer a low-friction method of inserting your catheter as smoothly as possible. They are known for being more comfortable, easier to insert, and they do not require additional lubricant. That’s right – an irritation-free, smooth cathing experience without application of separate lubricant.

This is possible because of the catheter’s hydrophilic coating, which is bonded to the surface of the catheter tube. Once this coating is activated by a small packet of sterile water that is included with the catheter, it becomes super-smooth and ready to insert. Because the hydrophilic coating is bonded to the catheter, you can experience a comfortable, well-lubricated catheterization process from insertion to removal.

This is just one recommendation out of many high-quality and respected brands. What is your preferred line of catheter? Talk to your doctor and call us at 180 Medical to find the catheter that's right for you!

Reasons Why Many Choose the Bard Touchless Catheter Kit

by Jessica May 5 2015 11:05
Anyone who has been using catheters for any length of time knows that not all of them are always comfortable for every single person. Finding the right catheter doesn’t only depend on size and length – you’ll also want one that is in the style most convenient for your needs while being easy to insert and remove with the most comfort. The specifics of what you need may vary depending on your gender, your condition, and your own sensitivity levels, but we feel confident that you can find the right catheter for yourself with little problems when you have a helpful staff of specialists on your side.

Here at 180 Medical, we carry a wide variety of intermittent catheters from the leading manufacturers and brands on the market today. We also staff well-trained customer specialists who can help you with your catheter choice, based on your insurance coverage and personal needs. One of the many brands we carry is Bard, a trusted leader in the medical supplies industry, and one of their products that many choose is the Bard Touchless line of catheter products.  

Bard is one of the most established medical device companies in the world, as they have been producing high-quality devices for over 100 years. One such quality product is their Touchless catheter kit line. A traditional intermittent catheter is a straight tube that you have to manually lubricate and then insert into your urethra to drain the bladder. The Bard Touchless Catheter Kit offers a more convenient method of self-catheterization, taking the mess and extra preparation of inserting a catheter.

The Touchless Catheter comes packaged, pre-lubricated, and ready to use, no manual handling of the catheter tube itself required. The insertion tip included helps the catheter itself bypass the first few millimeters of the urethra which is the area with the highest concentrations of bacteria. Thanks to the pre-lubrication, the catheter will slide in gently and easily with no actual hands-on contact with the tube, minimizing risk of infection. The kit also includes antiseptic wipes for cleaning the area before insertion and a urine collection bag.

This catheter, just like all products, may not be the best option for everyone across the board. But it is just one of our popular products that many people choose and love, as it presents an easier option for insertion with less prep as well as a more comfortable experience. Have you tried the Bard Touchless catheter kits yet? 

Contact us at 180 Medical with any questions that you have about these or our other products!

3 Types of Male Catheters and Their Uses

by Jessica March 9 2015 09:37
Getting older is a great blessing; we have the opportunity to experience things that give life meaning. Depending on our goals in life, we may start families, own homes, travel and see the world, and more. In each of our personal journeys over time and through experience, we develop the wisdom that a long, productive life can bring. However, with the gifts of age sometimes comes with a need for healthcare. Our bodies start to need more attention, and in some cases, assistance. That’s just part of the natural effects of aging.

In this post,man holding cane let’s look at the particular challenges of dealing with urological issues in men. A specially-designed male length intermittent catheter can assist in dealing with age- or illness-related conditions such as urethral strictures, complications from enlarged prostates, incontinence, and bladder retention, amongst others.  

Perhaps you’re researching catheters, because your doctor has determined  that a catheter is necessary for you at this time. What kinds of catheters are there for men? Here are a few of the main types that may be chosen for you.  

Intermittent Catheter

An intermittent catheter is a thin tube that is manually inserted into the urethra to drain the bladder in an easy process that people of all ages can do for themselves every day. An intermittent catheter is considered a single-use device, and it is disposable, so that you do not have to deal with washing and re-using it and risking infection. You’ll want to follow your doctor’s instructions for how often you will need to drain your bladder.  

Indwelling (Foley) Catheter

This catheter remains in place indefinitely. It is kept in place by an inflated balloon that is filled with sterile water. These kinds of catheters can only be inserted by a doctor for the purpose of long-term use.  

External (Texas) Catheter

This male catheter fits over the penis and is held in place by adhesive. Rather than being inserted into the urethra, this type of catheter collects urine that dribbles throughout the day and are usually not kept on for more than a day or two at a time. 

What catheter is chosen for you will ultimately depend on your doctor's assessment of your condition and personal needs.  

180 Medical can provide you with the supplies you need to stay on top of your health. They have a wide variety of the top brands and types available today, and their staff works with you and your doctor to find the catheter that will work best for you.