Catheter Connection

Time to Apply for 180 Medical's 2015 College Scholarship Program

by Jessica January 28, 2015 13:24
Are you seeking financial assistance to help pay for your full-time college hours in the Fall of 2015?  Up until June 1st of this year, eligible applicants can apply for one of seven awards. Learn more:


What's Next After Your Ostomy Surgery?

by Jessica January 27, 2015 10:47
There's no question that getting an ostomy is a major procedure that can affect certain aspects of your daily life. Once the surgery is complete, and you've gone over everything with your doctor, it'll be time to go home. Some people who have had this procedure may be unsure of what the next step is after that.

It’s natural to want to know how easy it will be to adapt to your new situation and become comfortable with everyday life. There are several factors to consider from the United Ostomy Associations of America, including these frequently asked questions about life after ostomy surgery.

How Much Will My Diet Change?

This really depends entirely upon what type of surgery you have – ileostomy, colostomy, or urostomy. Consult your doctor for information on what you should avoid or begin to include in your diet, if anything.

Will I Still Be Able to Take a Shower?

Yes. It depends on your personal preference on whether you keep your ostomy pouch on or take it off, but many people with ostomies have found that it’s nice to give their skin a break and expose the stoma to air. Be cautious about getting too much soap or water on or around the stoma to avoid irritation. Just be aware that, depending on which type of ostomy you have, your body may continue to eliminate waste while you are showering. Doctors do recommend that colostomy and ileostomy patients choose a time when they know that their bowel is less active to avoid extra mess or complications. ostomy couple hugging

Will People Be Able to Notice that I Have an Ostomy?

According to the United Ostomy Associations of America, approximately 750,000 people have had an ostomy. You most likely have come across someone who has had the procedure before, and you never even knew it. The pouch system is flattened against your stomach and is created with odor-resistant materials. Unless you tell someone you have it, he or she will most likely have no clue.

Are There Support Groups Out There?

It’s normal to feel like you are all alone in this, especially at first. But, as said before, there are hundreds of thousands of others who are going through very similar situations. There are support groups across the country and online where those with ostomies can help one another adapt to this new way of life. Click here to find the one in your area.

One such online support community you can visit is Ostomy Support Groups by Inspire at There are many different forums where you can discuss health and lifestyle issues, gain emotional support, inspire and motivate others and see additional ostomy information and resources.

As an ostomy supply company, 180 Medical is dedicated to providing our customers with the best in medical supplies and top-notch service. Our dedicated specialists have worked with many ostomy patients to help them get the best supplies for their needs and offer them a listening ear.  Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.   

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My Personal Experience with Interstitial Cystitis

by Trish January 15, 2015 15:05
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My name is Trish, and I have worked for 180 Medical for 4 years. I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction within the last year. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what this is, Interstitial Cystitis is a chronic painful condition of the bladder. Learn more details about it here.

Many of the customers at 180 Medical also share this same diagnosis with me. While I am not yet at a stage in my condition that requires me to self-cath, I thought I could share some of my own experiences and tips. 

Interstitial Cystitis (IC), also known as painful bladder syndrome (PBS), can often have similar symptoms to a bladder infection. When I initially began to have symptoms, I thought I had a urinary tract infection (UTI) for several weeks in a row. One of my family members has Interstitial Cystitis, so I was already familiar with some of the symptoms. After the second negative urinalysis that showed I did not have a UTI, it became clear that I was possibly dealing with IC.

According to, roughly 4 million Americans suffer from IC. interstitial cystitis ic who is affected

Some common symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis are:

  • Pain and pressure in the bladder and pelvic area. Sometimes this is so bad for me personally, I have to sit in a hot bath or hold a heating pad on my pelvis until it calms down.
  • Urgency and frequency of urination, as often as every 10 minutes for some. My IC does get that bad sometimes.
  • Lack of infection/negative cultures, despite exhibiting symptoms of a UTI. I do tend to get kidney infections at times.
  • Spasms and burning
  • Nocturia (urge to urinate at night). Sometimes, during a bad flare-up, I have to go to the bathroom up to 5 times in the middle of the night.
  • Painful sexual intercourse (which can, at times, make the IC worse)
Interstitial Cystitis is a specialized condition, and while it will cause some common symptoms shared by many, the experience can be different between person to person. It's difficult to tell someone else exactly how it feels, because one person may have symptoms that the other doesn't (and vice versa). One person may have mild urgency with no pain, while someone else could have extreme pelvic pain, spasms, burning, and increased frequency of urination. 

Some tips that help me, personally, during an IC flare-up:

  • Soak in a Sitz Bath or warm Epsom Salt bath. 
  • Place a heating pad onto your pelvic area to alleviate pelvic pain.
  • Mix a quarter teaspoon of baking soda into a ½ cup of water, stir, and drink promptly. This calms the bladder. Make sure and check with your doctor if you take other medication.  
  • Eat squash and sweet potatoes during a flare-up. They both help sooth my bladder, as do white potatoes and white rice. Make sure you leave out the black pepper. If you miss lemon flavor, try adding a bit of tarragon, which adds a distinct citrus flavor without the bladder irritation.
  • Drink as much water as possible. Water is the best thing for your body, especially those of us with IC. The spasms and other symptoms will eventually calm down after you flush your bladder.  
  • Drink chamomile or peppermint hot teas. They both have soothing effects on the bladder. 
  • Yoga can also be very relaxing and strengthening for some of the Interstitial Cystitis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD) symptoms.  
  • When nothing alleviates your symptoms, see your doctor. Do not ever feel like you are an imposition on your doctor or their staff. That is what they are here for.
  • The staff at 180 Medical is always available as well to answer any questions we can.
If you are experiencing symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis, just know you are not alone in your personal journey.

Stay tuned to our blog for more posts, including my own experience and input on Interstitial Cystitis.


About the Author: 
Trish has worked for 180 Medical for four years as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and daughters.


What Should You Know About National Birth Defects Prevention Month?

by Jessica January 8, 2015 11:39
The beginning of the New Year also marks the start of National Birth Defects Prevention Month, which takes place every January and was created to raise greater awareness among individuals about the prevalence of birth defects in this country. So what should you know about birth defects? Here are some frequently asked questions.

How Common Are Birth Defects?

Although we have made significant progress in healthcare and research 180 medical national birth defects monthto ensure the safety of the baby, birth defects still occur. In fact, a baby is born with a birth defect every four and a half minutes. One in 33 babies is born with a birth defect. The total hospital costs in the US of babies with birth defects are more than $2.6 billion.

Are Birth Defects Genetic?

They can be, depending upon the specific condition, but researchers are quick to point out that many causes of birth defects are unknown. A healthy woman with no history of birth defects can give birth to a baby with birth defects just as easily as a woman with a family history of birth defects.

Can Anything Be Done to Prevent Birth Defects?

Yes, luckily there are a number of things that women can do to lower their risk of having a child with birth defects. First and foremost, they should increase their intake of folic acid. A lack of folic acid intake for pregnant women has been linked to major birth defects of the brain and spine, such as spina bifida. To help prevent this, expectant mothers can increase their intake of folic acid by 400 mcg. Besides this, pregnant women should avoid alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs, as they can all affect the health of the baby and mother. In addition, they should have regular medical checkups and avoid exposure to chemicals and people who are sick.

180 Medical provides catheter and ostomy supplies to individuals across the country – many of whom require them due to birth defects like spina bifida. We encourage our readers to pass the information along, so everyone is aware of the causes of birth defects and how they can safeguard against them as much as possible.    

180 Medical Founder Todd Brown Named a Most Admired CEO

by Jessica December 23, 2014 11:43
We're proud to announce that our founder and CEO, Todd Brown, has been named one of Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs by The Journal Record. This prestigious award honors business leaders who demonstrate great leadership and dedication to their companies and communities. 

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"Everyone here at 180 Medical is so excited for Todd. It's great to see him recognized publicly as the wonderful leader of our company that we know him to be," says Sharon Hodnett, Human Resources Manager. "To say that I’m proud to work with Todd Brown and to consider him a friend and mentor is an understatement.  I can’t think of anyone who deserves this honor more than him."

Many of you may already know the inspiring story of Todd's life. Always one with an adventurous spirit and entrepreneurial mind, Todd was already trying to start up his first business, a sandwich shop, as he simultaneously worked through college and started his family. When he became paralyzed in a tragic moto-cross accident, he was determined that he would never give up. But the road to recovery was not an easy one. One of the difficulties that Todd faced in his new life as a paraplegic was dealing with frequent urinary tract infections -- an affliction that affects many people with spinal cord injuries. On top of frustrations with these infections, he was also having problems with getting the right medical supplies he needed. He found most supply companies were unfamiliar with the best product choices for his needs. One day, while attending a wheelchair race, Todd was introduced to closed system catheters by a fellow athlete and friend. Upon using this type of product for his intermittent catheterization routine, his health immediately began to improve. 

It was at this point that he knew everyone who goes through similar medical issues should have access to these products through a reliable company that could give friendly, knowledgeable service. Shortly after this, Todd and his wife started a medical supply company out of their own garage. Over the years, the company has grown to become a nationwide company with headquarters in Oklahoma City and sister companies in Phoenix and Boston.

Under Todd’s leadership, one aspect that sets 180 Medical apart and gives us a competitive edge in the marketplace today is his ultimate goal for unbeatable customer service that sets the standard. When he was newly injured and looking for companies that could provide the supplies he needed, he encountered business after business with under-educated employees who were unable to offer compassion or understanding. Todd’s experience is a huge part of what dictates the direction 180 Medical has taken. When he came up with the business model for 180 Medical, he knew that the customer base would often already be going through a difficult time as they adjust to a new condition that would require the need for medical supplies. So his ultimate goal was to staff his company with people who are passionate about helping others and could be trained to be specialists. Through Todd’s vision and planning, our company continues to go above and beyond to treat customers as though they were members of their own family.  

We are so proud of Todd and all his achievements. The sixth-annual Most Admired CEO event will be held on February 12, 2015, at the Skirvin-Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. 

About the Author: 
Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for over 5 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing & Marketing 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.

Common Myths About Living With an Ostomy

by Jessica December 16, 2014 09:54
There are hundreds of thousands of individuals around us who have experienced an ostomy surgery (which is a surgical procedure that involves re-routing the flow of body waste from the bladder, small intestine or colon/large intestine through an opening in the abdomen called a stoma). This is done when injury or disease renders the digestive or urinary system incapable of safely processing waste in the usual manner from the body. Common causes include injury, cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s Disease, chronic inflammation of the bladder, and more.

However, given the procedure, many might have some misconceptions of what an ostomy surgery is and how having an ostomy can affect an individual's daily life. For this reason, we thought it could be beneficial to address a few of the more common myths about living with an ostomy to help the public better understand that there is life after the procedure.  

Myth: People will know that you have an ostomy.  

Today’s ostomy systems are designed to be as discreet as possible under clothing, so most people will not have a clue unless you tell them. 

 Myth: I will not be able to exercise.

Although the Cleveland Clinic recommends that you forgo the heavy lifting for the first couple of months, regular exercise is possible and encouraged. You might even find exercise to be easier than before you had the procedure, especially if you were dealing with poor health prior to your surgery. Have you heard of the fitness model, Blake Beckford, couple huggingwho has an ileostomy? He is walking proof that you can still exercise and achieve big dreams!   

Myth: Physical intimacy will be an issue.  

It’s perfectly normal to have some concern about this change in your life, but with some communication and a caring partner who understands the unique issues that come with having an ostomy, you can still enjoy sex. You may want to take some precautions prior to intimacy, such as emptying your pouch or wearing a smaller specialty pouch designed to be less bulky. There are also accessories available that can help hold your pouch or bags in place during intimate times.  

Myth: All ostomy procedures are permanent.

Some are, but many others are temporary. This will depend on why you need the surgery in the first place.  

Myth: I will completely need to overhaul my diet.

This will depend on what you eat and the nature of your surgery, but there may be no need for huge overhauls. For instance, if you have a colostomy, you may want to avoid foods that produce excess gas such as beans or cabbage, or if you have an ileostomy, you might be advised to avoid tough, high-fiber foods. The best course of action is to consult with your treating physician for full information on how you should balance your diet.

180 Medical offers a number of colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy supplies to help you adjust to life with your new procedure. Contact us today to learn more about our ostomy products, billing information and more. 

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180 Medical Employee Spotlight: Territory Sales Representative

by Jessica December 5, 2014 12:07
180 Medical is a national leader in the intermittent catheter industry, and we also provide ostomy and other related medical supplies. We recruit employees who are positive, hard-working individuals who want to help others and enjoy what they do at their job. We offer a competitive benefits package, extensive training, and many fun extras. 180 Medical was also named one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma for the fifth year in 2014. 

This month, we're shining a spotlight on an employee that has been with us for five years now.

employee spotlight 180 medical seth

Seth, what do you do as a Sales Rep & Manager? What’s an average day like for you?

My day is full of appointments and cold calls with established and potential accounts. Every day is something different and new for me, even though I've been with 180 for 5 years now.  I am currently covering territory in the northeast. 

What do you love most about your job?

I love being out and about on a daily basis.  I've been doing it my entire career, and I don't know how I would function behind a desk if I had to.  Also, there is never a dull moment in the field. There are always new challenges to overcome. It keeps things interesting!  

What’s unique about 180 Medical that makes it such a great place to work?

180 is still a family even though we are growing like crazy.  I worked for a major drug company prior to 180 Medical, and there, you are just a number -- not a name. It is very rare to have this kind of dynamic in our industry. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the company.  

Anything you’d say to someone thinking about applying for a job here?  

This is the place you want to be if you want to be able to prove yourself and excel. There is upward mobility, and the structure allows a top performer to stand out and be recognized.    

What's one of your favorite stories of how you helped or interacted with a customer or facility? 

There is a guy on one of our  national brochures that is a patient of one of my old facilities. I remember the lengths the inside team and I went to in order to help him out, and in the end, it was definitely appreciated. He even uploaded his own YouTube video praising 180 Medical, and when I saw that, I knew this was why I am doing my job -- to help others!

Tell us just little bit about yourself. 

I love to play golf, although I rarely get time to play anymore with a 1-1/2 year old and another baby on the way (due date is Valentine's Day 2015). I've been married for 6 years. I like to cook, and I regularly tear my house apart to start new projects constantly -- it's what I do to de-stress. 

What's a favorite quote that keeps you inspired?

"Seek first to understand then be understood." -- Stephen Covey. It's a great quote and a good line to live by, especially when dealing with many different types of people on a daily basis.  

We'd like to give a big thank you to Seth and to all of our amazing Territory Sales Representatives and Managers in the field! Your work is so important to 180 Medical! 

Interested in applying for a job in sales or another department at 180 Medical? We're hiring! Check out our available positions at our Careers page and apply today. 

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About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for over 5 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing & Marketing 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.

Best Practices for Self-Catheterization

by Jessica December 3, 2014 17:59
Intermittent catheters are a type of medical device that can be easily used by patients or their caregivers in the comfort of your own home. However, it is technically considered an invasive device, since it enters the body to drain the bladder. Therefore, it must be used properly to be fully effective and not hurt more than it helps. For instance, UTIs (urinary tract infections) are one of the most common side effects of catheter usage, but these infections and other side effects can be avoided just by following some guidelines:

Make an appropriate selection for your needs.

There are a variety of options available, but you and your treating health care provider can decide together what kind of catheter may work best for you.
  • Size:  To minimize trauma and irritation to your urethra and to maximize urine flow, the correct French size of catheter should be used. Your doctor can work with you to determine what size is most appropriate for your body.
  • Material: Latex catheters were once the most common variety of catheter material, but as increasing numbers of people experience latex allergies, other options such as vinyl and silicone have been created to accommodate for these issues, as well as providing a slightly firmer tube for easier handling.
  • Type:  Intermittent catheters come in a variety of options. Straight cure hydrophilic catheter 180 medical catheters are affordable straight tubes that are manually lubricated and come in coude (curved) insertion tip or rounded straight tip. Your doctor can determine which type of insertion tip works best for your needs. Hydrophilic catheters come ready to lubricate via activation of sterile water, and once activated, they are super slippery for ease of insertion. Closed system catheters come in what are essentially on-the-go kits that allow for sterile and convenient cathing in places like public restrooms. These also often come with an easy introducer tip to help bypass the highest concentrations of bacteria in the first few millimeters of the urethra. 

Practice proper technique.

Because a catheter is inserted into the urethra, it has the potential to introduce bacteria into the bladder. To minimize infection risks, catheter insertion should only be performed once you have been made aware of how to do so by a health care professional. Once you are home from your doctor’s office, the process of self-cathing may feel a little daunting, but with 180 Medical, you have access to specialists who can walk you through it over the phone, as well as learning materials like our DVD and booklets with step-by-step instructions.

Practice proper hygiene.

Intermittent catheters are considered single-use devices, so they should be used only once and then disposed of. While cleaning and reusing catheters may seem appealing to those who are trying to save a bit on medical supply costs, this practice makes UTIs much more likely. When you use a catheter, it’s nearly impossible to get it clean again, since it’s already been inserted into the body and contaminated by bacteria.

Using catheters once, on the other hand, means you will have a more sterile experience each and every time you self-cath. The chances of bacteria being carried into your urethra on the catheter is minimized significantly. Single use of catheters is safer and recommended by medical professionals.

One of the most important things that you will learn is the necessity of a clean environment when cathing. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before starting out. You can also keep some anti-bacterial wipes on hand with you to clean the area before insertion. Other items such as disposable gloves and an underpad to lay your supplies on can be helpful as well.    

The Basics of Coude Catheters

by Jessica November 18, 2014 14:29
There are many different types and brands of catheters available today, but there are typically only two basic insertion tip types (with the exception of some variations of the two): straight tip and coudé tip. Straight is the most common type of insertion tip, but coudé catheters are also frequently used. Read on to learn more about this type of catheter insertion tip to see if it is right for your needs.

What is a coudé catheter?

The coudé tip is basically an slightly angled or curved tip on a catheter. This type of tip is best used for those who have great difficulty passing a regular straight tip catheter. This situation is most common in men, so the coudé tip is nearly always on a male length catheter. The reasons for this situation include urethral strictures, blockages, enlarged prostates, or false passages. 

Coudé Tip Catheter Types & Product Options

There are varying types of coudé catheters available 
180 medical coude catheter curesuch as an olive tip, Tiemann tip or tapered tip. Your doctor will likely determine what works best for you, based on your anatomy and the issue causing the need for a coudé. 

Coudé catheters come in a variety of products for everyone's needs and preferences, such as closed system kits, hydrophilic catheters, and intermittent straight catheters. See our product catalog for a look at some of the available options.

How to use a coudé tip catheter

There is no one right way to position the angle of the tip, depending on your body's needs. But your prescribing healthcare provider will likely spend a little time in the office to go over the process of learning to insert the catheter, including which direction to face the angle of the insertion tip. 

Many coudé tip catheters will offer a reference point on the funnel or tube of the catheter itself to see which way the coudé's angle is facing, such as a notch, bump, or guide line down the catheter tube itself, which can be of some help during insertion as well. 

After you leave the doctor's office and start using catheters at home on your own, it's natural that you might have some questions or need further assistance. 180 Medical can help. We have trained specialists available to contact during our business hours, and we also offer one-of-a-kind informational booklets about catheterization and even a DVD with step-by-step instructions. We'll do all we can to make this process easy to understand.

Finding the Right Coudé Catheter For You

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. There is no one catheter that works best for everyone. With 180 Medical, you'll have access to the  widest selection of the top coudé tip catheters, available from the best manufacturers including ConvaTec's GentleCath line, Bard, Coloplast, Cure, Hollister, Rusch, LoFric, and more! 

Contact us today to speak with one of our friendly trained catheter specialists to get started on the road to finding the best catheter for you.

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for over 5 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing & Marketing 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.

180 Medical is Hiring!

by Jessica November 12, 2014 09:59
180 Medical continues to grow as a company, and over the summer, we recently moved to a new location since we outgrew our old headquarters. Now we are looking for some exceptional individuals to join our 180 Medical family. 

“Even though 180 Medical continues to grow by leaps and bounds, we have kept that fun, family atmosphere here that I think is a big part of why our employees truly love their 180 medical is hiring employee feedback quotejobs,” says Todd Brown, founder and CEO of 180 Medical.  

In fact, 180 Medical is such a great company that we werebest places to work in oklahoma 2014 named one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma for a fifth year as of 2014. The ranking is based upon anonymous employee feedback in surveys, and we are excited to be recognized as a company that treats its employees with care and consideration, just as we do for our customers. We offer great benefits as well as fun perks to keep our employees smiling, such as casual wear to work, goal-driven incentives, and fun company events like our annual bowling night and chili cook-off.  

But what is it that makes working at 180 Medical so special? Well, a huge part of what 180 Medical is all about revolves around service - both to others in the workplace and to our customers. We are devoted to providing unparalleled care for our customers, and that even extends into our community. Every day, one resounding thing that our employees say is that they love how our company feels like a family, even with the continued growth, and that they look forward to coming to work every day. Not many people can say they truly love their jobs, but we hear it very often from our employees. 

Are you looking for a job where you can make a difference? Maybe you want a positive work environment so yotheo employee 180 medicalu can look forward to come to work each weekday. Or perhaps you’re looking for a stable career with a company that offers great benefits and perks. 180 Medical can offer you all that and more!  

Check out our available positions:
  • Shipping Specialist
  • Inside Sales (Product Specialist) 
  • Documentation Specialist 
  • Confirmations Specialist 
  • Customer Service/Client Specialist 
  • Billing Specialist 
  • Officer Coordinator (Livonia, MI) 
  • Sales Representative (Varied Locations)     
If you or someone you know is interested in working at 180 Medical, apply today at our Careers page!

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About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for over 5 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing & Marketing 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.