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Tips for Going Back to School with Catheters

by Jessica August 27 2018 05:52
going back to school catheters tips

If your child has begun to self-catheterize all on their own, you're probably very proud of their big step. However, as they go back to school this fall, you may also have some concerns and questions about their transition to self-cathing at school.

For example, will your child be able to discreetly carry and use their catheters? Can they store all their needed catheter supplies at school? Will they be able to self-cath in a public restroom without getting a urinary tract infection? 

Those questions are perfectly understandable, and we want to help.

Here are some of the top tips for preparing your child to self-cath on their own at school, including advice from pediatric urology nurses who work with kids who cath every day.

Tips for Preparing to Self-Cath at School

1. Plan in advance, and visit the school with your child.

Schedule a time to visit your child's school, and speak with their teacher, school nurse, and any other necessary school administrators.

Some of the topics to discuss may include:

  • your child's condition & their requirement of catheter to drain their bladder
  • the need for discretion and privacy
  • available storage options at the school

teacher at schoolThe teacher will typically make reasonable accommodations, like allowing bathroom breaks at particular times of the day so your child can empty their bladder according to their doctor's prescribed intermittent cathing schedule.

Be aware that a doctor's note will likely be required for any related requests like this.

Andrea Brown, RN of Pediatric Urology at OUHSC, advises to "keep backup catheters with a teacher or office staff away from their regular supply, just in case their daily stash gets low or runs out."

The school will probably have an option to store your child's backup catheter supply in lockable storage, like a private closet, locker, or in the school nurse's office. This way, if your child ever happens to use more catheters than usual during the day, you can both rest assured that there will be additional stock always on hand for them.

You will also want to make sure your child understands and can follow their prescribed self-cathing schedule.

A good way to set reminders is on a programmable watch or even on their phone. If your child has trouble remembering when to cath and doesn't have an option for setting reminders, let the teacher know what times of day or when your child should take a short break to go to the restroom and catheterize.

set pediatric cathing reminders for your child

2. Find a discreet way for your child to carry and dispose of their catheter supplies.

back to school catheters backpackThe scariest part of heading back to school as a child who caths is worrying about what others might think if they find out, so of course, it's natural to want to keep their need for self-cathing private.

The good news is that there are plenty of options for privately carrying catheter supplies in public. Angela Harting, Lead LPN at OU Physicians Pediatric Urology, suggests options for keeping catheter supplies discreet like "a makeup case, backpack, or eyeglasses case."

Andrea Brown suggests wearing clothes with pockets and, "if possible, use pocket-sized catheters."

"Most kids use a cinch bag to keep their supplies in," says Brandi Capps, RN and BSN at Duke Pediatric Urology. "Using hydrophilic catheters are also helpful, so they don't have to keep track of so many supplies."

If your child's restroom at school does not have trash receptacles in the stalls where they can quickly and easily throw away their pediatric cathing supplies, they'll have to use the main trash can in the restroom, usually located near the sinks. This doesn't mean that their privacy has to be compromised. Simply provide them with the amount of disposal bags they would need along with their daily supplies. Some find that simple brown paper lunch bags do the trick.

Some closed system catheters include a separate bag for discreet disposal. Ask our Product Specialists about which options might be right for your child.

For more ideas, check out our blog "10 Ways to Carry Your Catheter Supplies Discreetly."

3. Discuss maintaining proper hygiene with your child.

washing hands before cathingAbove all else, "washing their hands is key," says Brandi Capps. Talk to your child about the importance of washing their hands with antibacterial soap and warm water before and after self-cathing to reduce the risk of infection

Angela Harting also advises that your child should carry hand sanitizer in their pocket, backpack, or other tote for quick and easy hand-cleaning when water and soap aren't available.

4. Make sure your child knows what to do in an emergency. 

As a parent or caregiver of a child with special needs, you probably know what to do in case of an emergency. However, at school, your child will need to know how to reach out for help in certain situations. 

in case of emergencyAngela Harting advises that in case of any minor emergency, let your child know to "go to their teacher, their school nurse, or other trained staff while at school." She says it's also important that they know how to call you or another trusted family member or caregiver in case of small emergencies, like running out of supplies too soon in the day.

She also says to remember that your child's doctor and/or pediatric urology team is just a phone call away.

180 Medical is here for you as well, especially in the case of catheter product questions, supply refills, and other related needs.

As always, in any serious medical emergency, their teacher should call 911. 

5. Try an advanced pediatric catheter.

There are plenty of benefits to using an advanced pediatric catheter, like a hydrophilics or closed systems. Many of these benefits apply to the above tips, especially regarding discretion, ease of use and storage, and hygiene to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.

However, it's important to make sure your child is comfortable with using their new catheter product and have used it on their own at home with your supervision, if necessary, before bringing it to school to use on their own. 

Hydrophilic catheters almost always include an adhesive tab on the back of the package to press and hang on the wall securely, rather than having to put it on the floor or trying to juggle all their supplies. With hydrophilic catheters, there is often considerably less mess and less supplies to worry about, which means they're easier to carry and pocket. 

hydrophilic catheter illustration 180 medical

Closed system catheters are considered "all-in-one" catheters, because along with a hydrophilic or pre-lubricated catheter, the package also contains insertion supplies, such as antibacterial wipes, an underpad, gloves, and even a collection bag for easy drainage. Most brands also feature a soft, flexible introducer tip that is pre-lubricated, and this tip helps the catheter tube itself to bypass the highest concentrations of bacteria on the outside and in the first few millimeters of your child's urethra. This can have a positive impact on reducing the risk of infection.

closed system catheter illustration

Both hydrophilic catheters and closed system catheters are essentially "touch-free," thanks to options like gripping sleeves that can help your child manipulate the catheter without ever having to touch the tube itself. This may reduce the risk of contamination from hands.

6. Check out the 180 Medical Kids Club.

By joining the 180 Medical Kids Club, your child will receive a free drawstring bag filled with some fun activities that help normalize the idea of self-cathing for children.

180 medical kids club bag ethan emmaPerfect for carrying catheters and other lightweight school supplies discreetly, each bag includes a colorful book for both girls and boys with a story highlighting two characters, Ethan and Emma, who have Spina Bifida and self-cath. In this fun illustrated story, your child can learn that cathing all on their own is important for keeping them healthy and increasing their independence.

If your child is still in the process of learning how to self-cath on their own, the kit also includes catheter guides for children, as well as step-by-step information that will help them learn how to perform self-catheterization (whether they are cathing through their urethra or a stoma).

Still unsure if your child is ready to self-catheterize? Read our blog post to find out how to know if they are able and ready to start cathing on their own. This way you and your child can feel more confident as they start their new journey of learning pediatric catheter insertion

Check out the 180 Medical Kids Club today! 

180 Medical Is Here for Your Pediatric Catheter Supply Needs

For more information about catheter supplies that can help make your child's cathing routine easier, more hygienic, and discreet, reach out to our live online chat option at during business hours or call us toll-free at 1-877-688-2729.

Our Product Specialists will be happy to discuss any other questions or concerns you may have, and they can suggest and sample options of catheters that may fit your child's lifestyle and needs while keeping their need for catheterization discreet.

Good luck to you and your child in the new school year!

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jessica 180 medical blog authorAbout the Author:

Jessica is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator, & she has been with 180 Medical for 9 years. To her, the best part of working at 180 Medical is the opportunity to truly make a difference in peoples' lives. In her downtime, she enjoys creative writing, seeing new places, & spending time with her loved ones & her dogs. 

180 Medical Named One of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma for 9th Year

by Jessica August 13 2018 08:07
best places to work in oklahoma 180 medical

We recently found out that our company has once again been ranked as one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma. 2018 makes it our 9th year to be ranked among the best workplaces in our great state, and the whole company is excited to celebrate!

employee quote stephanie

The Best Places to Work in Oklahoma 

The Best Places to Work in Oklahoma awards were developed and implemented by The Journal Record (an Oklahoma publication) and the Best Companies Group. Multiple companies from all kinds of industries in Oklahoma were considered and included in the process, including some of the largest employers in the state.

The award is determined by a process of researching what each company is all about, including business practices, their foundation and mission statements, and more.

The second part, which counts for the majority of the determination, is based entirely on anonymous feedback from actual employees, each of whom have an opportunity to share their personal experiences. 

With all of this information in hand, the Best Companies Group determines the final rankings based on who has a positive work culture and the most satisfied employees. This in itself is a special honor to 180 Medical, because this award is based on what our employees say about our company and their experiences with being a part of the 180 Medical family.

"We couldn’t be more proud of this great honor," says Mark Jassey, COO of 180 Medical. "This honor is shared by every single member of our team, and I'd say that's just a part of what makes 180 Medical a fantastic place to work. Our company shares a commitment to treat each other with the same compassion and care as we do the customers whom we are privileged to serve. 180 Medical is, at its heart, a company that cares about service and doing the right thing, and our people are the most important part of our business. That's what we call 'the 180 Way.'"

Why is 180 Medical such a great place to have a career?

jessica 180 medical employee quoteThere are a plenty of great reasons, including a high importance placed on maintaining a proper work-life balance and great benefits.

We work hard at 180 Medical to take care of our amazing customers, but we make time to make sure there's plenty of fun to be had. There are opportunities for employees to participate in community and charitable events, like the annual OU Physicians Wheelchair Basketball Game, benefitting the Oklahoma Wheels of Thunder, and the yearly National MS Society "Walk MS" event.

On top of that, just being at work every day can be a fun event. We have workplace potlucks and treat days, costume contests at Halloween, decoration contests, and favorite traditions like our yearly Bowling Night and celebrating the holidays. Even our quarterly meetings include fun games, as well as a time for special recognition of employees who go above and beyond. 

fun events at 180 medical

"I love working at 180 Medical," says Leah, Customer Specialist. "My favorite part is getting to make a difference in peoples' lives by the tenets of the 180 Way. I love knowing that my co-workers share the same values and the mission, which is to turn lives around! I also appreciate all our awesome benefits, and I love that I am trusted to do my job to the best of my ability."

We're happy to be able to say the same! 180 Medical is honored to continue to stand among the best workplaces in Oklahoma! 

Are you seeking a job where you can develop a career while making a positive difference in others' lives? Apply today at

180 medical is hiring

jessica 180 medical blog authorAbout the Author:

Jessica is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator, & she has been with 180 Medical for 9 years. To her, the best part of working at 180 Medical is the opportunity to truly make a difference in peoples' lives. In her downtime, she enjoys creative writing, seeing new places, & spending time with her loved ones & her two dogs. 

Product Specialist Employee Spotlight: Meet Cassy

by Jessica July 19 2018 14:06
cassy 180 medical product specialist header

180 Medical is a leading supplier of intermittent catheters and ostomy products in the country. We like to make sure our customers are given all the tools and knowledge they need to feel confident and comfortable with beginning to use their urological and/or ostomy supplies, so we provide plenty of on-the-job training, including keeping up to date on new products being released on the market. This is all so that our employees can truly earn the title of "Specialist." 

We love to take time to recognize and reward our employees for all they do! Today, take a minute to get to know Cassy, one of our knowledgeable and caring Product Specialists. 

Cassy, how long have you been a part of the 180 Medical family now?

5 years, 9 months, and 4 days! But who's counting? I was a Customer Specialist when I first started in October of 2012, then I transitioned in 2015 to a Product Specialist. 

During your time here so far, how has 180 Medical helped you in your professional development? 

180 Medical helped me grow into an actual "career," as opposed to just another "job." Working here has given me confidence in myself, my capabilities, and an inner drive that I didn't even know I had. 

What is an accomplishment that you're really proud of?

I have been a Product Specialist for a total of 13 quarters so far, and in those quarters, I have been the Top Product Specialist of the Quarter 9 times thus far.

cassy ps award

What is the best part of working at 180 Medical to you?

Being able to help others! When people are brand new to cathing, they're sometimes totally overwhelmed, and they're not really sure where or how to begin. Being able to be a calming voice, talk them through the whole process, and help them select the best catheter product that's right for them is always rewarding! Whether it's someone new to cathing or a parent of a child who will need to start using catheters, I love getting to calm any fears they may have, help them understand they're not alone, and hold their hand every step of the way. 

Also, I love our casual dress code at work!

What's an average day in the life for you as a Product Specialist? What are some of your favorite parts of being in your position?
erica quote on cassy ps
I get to speak with new and existing customers, set up their accounts, walk them through any issues, make sure they have a catheter that works best for their needs, and make any needed changes to their accounts. I also help in assisting with some of the new hire training, as well as occasional training classes for existing employees. I just like to offer any help I can to anyone in need. 

But my favorite part is the personal connection I get to have with the customers. I get to know their life stories, their kids' and grandchildren's names, how they found out about 180 Medical, what they enjoy doing in the spare time, and even what they're making for dinner that night. Oh, and the weather! That's always fun to discuss when I'm talking to someone in a different time zone and part of the country. I just love being a source of knowledge and comfort for them.

Do you have any special memories with one of our customers that made a positive impact on your life?

My favorite interaction so far was a gentleman that I got to talk with every single month. Same time, same day (the 3rd Thursday of every month), and same time at 8:30 a.m. (CST). He wanted very little communication the first time I called him, but somehow over time, I was able to gain his trust, and we became friends! He became one of my favorite people to check in on. He never married or had children, but he loved his momma, and he worked hard. I remember that the highlight of his year was always a month-long cruise to Alaska. He made me laugh, and he made me thankful for the family I have. Just a joy to talk to.

Even though he has since passed away, I still keep the postcards he would send me at work from Alaska on his cruise, addressed to "Kathy." Every time I see those, I remember his stories and when he told me that I was his one "true friend" that he had left, and it still makes me smile. 

What's life like for you outside of work? 

I am a mom to 3 crazy kids. My oldest is 17 and getting ready to be a senior in high school this fall. My second is 9, and my littlest son is 4. When I'm not cooking dinner or doing their laundry, I enjoy working in my yard, playing with the kids outside, watching TV, and reading. I also coach my daughter's softball team, so we spend a lot of nights at the ball fields. We just finished our spring season with the 2nd place title!! Pretty proud of that. 

cassy and family

Any fun vacation plans or anything on your "Bucket List" that you hope to accomplish?

 We're planning a family vacation to Florida in August! 

cassy and kidsI have accomplished one big milestone on my bucket list! I just celebrated 2 years as an official homeowner! 

Something else on my bucket list I still want to accomplish is becoming a foster mom. I have a real soft spot in my heart for children, and my biggest goal is to become a certified foster parent and take in as many kids as I'm able to provide a good home for them.

So many kids grow up in hard or scary situations that they have no control over, and that breaks my heart. But I have a home of my own now, and becoming a foster mom is something I know I am meant to do eventually.

I get asked a lot about how I will handle it when the children have to leave. My heart has always told me the same thing: even though I know I will love the kids I am blessed to help, and it will be super hard for me to let them go when the time comes, I know that even if I only have them in my care for a short time, that time might be the only time they have love, security, and hope. And that just might make a difference in the rest of their lives. That might even be enough to change their destiny. 

That's incredibly inspiring. Do you have any quotes that help keep you motivated?

I have two! 

"To make a difference in someone's life, you don't have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care." -- Unknown

"A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in the bank...but the world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child." -- Forest Witcraft

Lastly, what advice you would offer to someone who is considering applying for a job at 180 Medical? 

1. Take time to research what we do here. I wasn't sure before I came in for my first interview, and when I was asked how comfortable I would be talking about urinary catheters, I was speechless. I wasn't sure if it was a trick question! But I made it through, and now almost 6 years later, I talk about catheters all the time!

 2. You have to be able to really care. The people we help have often been through hard situations, and we need to offer them empathy, compassion, and patience. 

Cassy, you're so important to 180 Medical, and we thank you for all you do, both inside and outside the workplace. You're a shining example of "the 180 Way!" 

Do you want a career where you can love what you do and make a difference? We're hiring! Take a look at our currently available job positions and apply today!

180 medical is hiring

jessica 180 medical blog authorAbout the Author:

Jessica is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator, & she has been with 180 Medical for 9 years. To her, the best part of working at 180 Medical is the opportunity to truly make a difference in peoples' lives. In her downtime, she enjoys creative writing, seeing new places, & spending time with her loved ones & her dogs. 

Tips for Cathing After Prostate Cancer Surgery

by Jessica July 13 2018 06:23
tips for catheterization after prostate cancer surgery

Each year, nearly 165,000 males in the United States are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

early detection and prevention of prostate cancerProstate cancer is the most common cancer in men other than skin cancer, and it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men according to the American Cancer Society.

However, this slow-growing cancer is often very treatable and isn't necessarily fatal, particularly in cases where it is diagnosed early. This is why it's so important to make regular or annual appointments to see a urologist. Early detection is key.

Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Surgery

For those who are diagnosed with prostate cancer, there are a few treatment options. This will entirely depend on how severe the cancer growth is. The best course of action will come down to a mutual decision between you and your treating physician. 

Some may have to undergo a partial or full removal of the prostate by surgery, which is called a prostatectomy. This procedure is done to prevent the diseased portions or all of this walnut-sized gland from the body in order to prevent the cancer from spreading.

prostate cancer surgeryWhile it is considered a safe operation and usually very successful, there can be some side effects. According to the UCLA Prostate Cancer Program, “the surgery may weaken the muscles that control your urine flow. Surgery may also hurt the nerves that help control your bladder.” This is why some men occasionally experience urine leakage or symptoms of a neurogenic bladder after the surgery. In many cases, this side effect is temporary, but for some, this could be a long-term condition that requires treatment as well.

Depending on the symptoms and the severity, a protective undergarment or adult briefs may be a good option to absorb any leakage until the symptoms subside.

However, in other cases, it may be best to use an intermittent catheter to help empty the bladder and prevent urine leakage.

Tips for New Catheter Users After Prostate Cancer Surgery

Find the right intermittent Catheter for you.

You're unique, and so are your needs and preferences. That's why it's important to remember that no single type or brand of catheter is the best choice for everyone across the board. 

There are multiple types of disposable catheters available on the market today, so you have plenty of product options from which to choose. When it's time to begin selecting an intermittent catheter that will work best for you, be sure to consult with your prescribing healthcare professional to determine together what may work best for you, taking into account your lifestyle, preferences, medical condition, and anatomy. 

Straight intermittent catheters are considered the original technology. This type of catheter is uncoated and must be manually lubricated with separate lubricating jelly before insertion. Lubrication is typically sold separately in easy-to-open options like single-use travel-size packets or capped tubes. These are a simple catheter option, and some men prefer these due to their overall affordability and practicality.

straight caths for men

Hydrophilic catheters can be a great option, especially for those new to self-cathing, because of their convenience, sterility, and travel-readiness. Hydrophilic catheters have a coating that becomes slippery when activated by water and takes the place of typical lubricating jelly to make catheterization more smooth and comfortable. 

hydrophilic catheters for men

Closed system catheters are also great for sterile, no-touch cathing. Frequent travelers and those in wheelchairs also find closed systems to be incredibly handy and often easier to maneuver than standard straight catheters, since they are all-in-one systems with integrated collection bags. These often come with additional insertion supplies like ambidextrous gloves, antiseptic wipes, and other accessories to keep the cathing process hygienic.

closed system catheters for men

If you have any issues with inserting a straight tip, your doctor may recommend that you use a curved tip catheter known as a coudé catheter. Coudé catheters may help maneuver through tight spaces in the urethra like strictures and get past blockages.

Coudé tips are offered along with straight tips in every type of catheter listed above. Availability will depending on the brand and French size needed. 

keep it hygienic to reduce your risk of infection

Urinary tract infections are a common side effect among those who self-cath. There are ways to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, such as using a touch-free catheter like a hydrophilic catheter or closed system catheter.

Do your best to keep your hands off the catheter tube to prevent contamination, and maintain a sterile environment.

On top of that, using your intermittent catheter just once and then disposing of it is a great way to reduce your risk of urinary tract infections.

talk to your doctor and follow their instructions.

Be sure to pay close attention to your doctors’ and nurses’ instructions regarding catheter use, including how frequently to catheterize per day and whether or not you should record your urine output for a period of time.

There are many misconceptions about cathing, which is why you should always be attentive and upfront with any questions to ensure you fully understand how to cath correctly. 

urologist prostate

Consider your catheter supplier options carefully.

Not all medical supply companies are equal when it comes to their brand selection, customer service, or product knowledge.

If you are asking “Where can I buy catheters?,” consider 180 Medical, the leading intermittent catheter supplier in the nation.

180 Medical offers an wide and varied selection of male length catheters from all of the top brands and manufacturers, including the newest products on the market with the latest advances in technology. 

intermittent catheter brands at 180 medical

On top of that, our team of trained and compassionate Specialists offer customer service that is second to none. We're happy to answer your questions, provide helpful instruction and educational materials, listen to all your concerns and preferences, and help you find the right catheter for your needs.

Using a catheter after prostate cancer surgery doesn't have to be scary or embarrassing to discuss.

If you're ready to look into your your catheter product options, give us a call today and find out how easy it is to get your first order of catheters. We'll be honored to help you as you heal from your surgery and transition into self-cathing.

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What You Need to Know About Overactive Bladder

by Jessica July 2 2018 06:05
what you need to know about oab

Do you find yourself suddenly needing to go to the bathroom without warning? Do you worry about socializing or spending time away from home because you're experiencing urine leakage? Do you need to urinate more often than usual or even experience unexpected urination at night (also known as nocturia)?

If so, it's possible you may be living with a form of urinary incontinence called overactive bladder.

We want to assure you that you are not the only one dealing with this condition. In fact, overactive bladder, which is also known as OAB, affects approximately 33 million Americans. However, according to the Official Foundation of the American Urological Association, that number may be higher than reported, since there are a lot of people living with symptoms of incontinence or overactive bladder who feel embarrassed to talk about it or see their doctor.

We want to empower you with the information you need to be able to ask for help and discuss your symptoms with your treating physician. Here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about overactive bladder, which we hope will help you learn more about this condition, including its symptoms, potential causes, and treatment options.

What Is Overactive Bladder?

urge incontinence oabOveractive bladder is just what it sounds like: a bladder that's working overtime.

Some of the main symptoms of overactive bladder include:

  • sudden urge to urinate
  • urine leakage
  • making more trips to the bathroom than before

Those living with overactive bladder may also experience secondary symptoms, which may include:

  • fatigue from disrupted sleep due to nocturia
  • embarrassment
  • decreased social activity
  • depression

What Causes Overactive Bladder?

aging and oabOveractive bladder can happen to anyone at any time. However, it's important to know that both age and gender may potentially be related causes.

Pelvic floor muscles and even the muscles of the bladder sometimes weaken as our bodies age. This is one of the reasons why urinary incontinence tends to happen more frequently to women than men, since hormonal fluctuations and childbirth are a common cause of weakened pelvic floor muscles.

There are a variety of other factors that could trigger an overactive bladder.

Sometimes, people may experience symptoms of overactive bladder caused by lifestyle changes. These cases are are often only temporary.

alcohol intake and overactive bladderFor example, a night of drinking a little too much alcohol can lead to increased bladder activity and even bed-wetting. Drinking too many fluids in general makes one urinate more frequently as well. Bladder irritants and diuretics like caffeine can also function in the same way, leading the body to release more urine than normal. You may want to speak to your doctor about the right amounts and types of fluid to intake for your individual needs.

However, there are some serious underlying conditions that can cause chronic urinary incontinence and overactive bladder as well. Neurological disorders like Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s disease carry risk factors for overactive bladder. Diabetes and kidney disease are two others.

This is why it is so important to see your doctor and get properly diagnosed, especially if your symptoms have lasted for longer than a few days or weeks. 

How is Overactive Bladder Treated?

The treatment for an overactive bladder will mainly depend on the cause.

In some of the aforementioned instances of drinking too many fluids like alcohol or coffee, a little diet modification may be all that is necessary.

gentlecath straight catheterSometimes, it's as simple as strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. Your doctor may suggest specific exercises like Kegels to help strengthen those muscles and get your bladder back in proper working order.

Your doctor may also recommend the use of intermittent catheters.

Medication may also help some people, while surgery may be required in more serious situations. 

Again, the most important thing to know is that it is absolutely normal to experience these kinds of symptoms, and it is perfectly alright to ask for help from your healthcare provider. They will not judge or shame you; they're here to help you! If you notice symptoms of overactive bladder or other changes to your urinary system, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

If your treatment plan requires the use of intermittent catheters to help treat the symptoms of overactive bladder or urinary incontinence, 180 Medical is here for you every step of the way.

As the leading catheter supplier in the nation, we carry a full line of catheter products from the top brands and manufacturers on the market today.

popular catheter brands

Our catheter specialists are ready to help you find the right catheter product for your needs and preferences. Give us a call today!

Disclaimer: This blog should not be taken as medical advice and is only intended to provide a general understanding of overactive bladder. This information should not be used in place of any recommendations, prescribed treatment plans, or medical advice from your professional healthcare provider.

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The Full Guide to No-Touch Catheters

by AmyHernandez June 26 2018 05:51

Since the introduction of clean intermittent catheterization as an alternate way to drain the bladder, there have been many advances in cathing techniques as well as new types of catheter products.

No-touch catheterization techniques and no-touch catheters have become increasingly popular over the years. This is likely due to the convenience and independence these products can offer, as well as a way to reduce the occurrence of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs).

UTIs and CAUTIs can be an issue for many people who perform intermittent self-catheterization, which is why sterility is most often at the top of the list of most important things to consider when deciding which intermittent catheter type is right for you.


A no-touch catheter, also known as a touch-free catheter or touchless catheter, is a urinary catheter that can be inserted without the user having to directly touch the catheter tube (the portion of the catheter system that is inserted into the urethra).

No-touch catheters have been available on the market for several years; however, they are generally called closed system catheters or sterile catheter kits.

Closed system catheters are either pre-lubricated or have a hydrophilic coating that is easily activated by sterile water to become lubricated. What makes a no-touch closed system catheter truly unique is that it is an all-in-one option that is housed inside its own sterile collection bag. The catheter tube can be easily manipulated and advanced forward to insert into the urethra without touching it, which minimizes the risk of contamination from the hands.

Another benefit of closed system catheters is that the majority of them come with what is known as an introducer tip. The introducer tip is usually a pre-lubricated, soft, flexible cover that shields the tip of the actual catheter tube and helps it bypass the first short section of the urethra where the highest concentrations of bacteria can be found. This also does its part in potentially reducing the risk of contracting a UTI.

Many brands of closed systems will come packaged with additional insertion supplies that can make the cathing process even more hygienic. This may include items like gloves and antiseptic wipes.


There are many reasons why using a no-touch catheter might be the best option for you, depending on your lifestyle, preferences, and needs.

Of course, the added protection against contamination from touching and bacteria, as mentioned above, is a huge reason why many people prefer and chose to use no-touch catheters.

Touch-free catheterization has been shown to be incredibly effective at preventing the onset of catheter associated UTIs in spinal cord injured people. Clinical studies have shown the use of a no-touch catheter is associated with a 30% UTI reduction and general low UTI rates of .68% in a study conducted with spinal cord injured people.

Medicare may also cover these advanced catheter products for catheters users who have experienced two or more documented urinary tract infections (UTIs) within a single year while using sterile straight intermittent catheters and sterile lubrication packets.

In hospitals, the introduction of no-touch catheter systems and techniques has been well accepted by both caregivers and patients, and has not been associated with higher costs. On the contrary, it has actually reduced costs while saving time and reducing infection complications in general, according to Clinical studies.


There are a few different options when it comes to choosing a no-touch catheter system, depending on your insurance coverage. If your insurance policy does not currently cover closed system catheters, which are billed under HCPC code A4353, you may still be able to qualify for a hydrophilic catheter.

Here are the two main options of no-touch catheters:

Closed System Catheters

Closed system catheters are the preferred cathing system for many, including people in wheelchairs, children, and those frequently travel, work, or go to school. This is because of their convenience as well as the ability to reduce the risk of infection with the all-in-one system and introducer tip, which helps minimize the risk of contamination or pushing harmful bacteria into the bladder. One of the most popular closed system catheters on the market is the Bard Touchless Plus kit, which features a patented catheter guide, allowing for better control during insertion.

Hydrophilic Catheters

Hydrophilic catheters come pre-hydrated and ready to use, or they can be easily activated by an included sterile water packet. Once it’s ready to use, the catheter stays optimally lubricated and offers a more comfortable, smooth insertion. Hydrophilic catheters work to minimize urethral friction, which can also help reduce the risk of infection. Most hydrophilic catheters are considered no-touch catheters, thanks to included handling sleeves that keep your hands off of the catheter tube and help guide the catheter into the urethra. You may be interested in the popular GentleCath™ Glide, a no-touch hydrophilic catheter for both males and females. It was created specifically to make cathing more comfortable and reduce the mess sometimes left behind by alternate brands of hydrophilic catheters.

Intermittent straight catheters are not typically considered no-touch catheters, but there are cathing techniques which can reduce the risk of contamination from your hands, such as using gloves and antiseptic wipes during your catheterization routine.

Still not sure which catheter option is right for you? Contact us today and speak with a trained catheter specialist who can help you decide which intermittent catheter is best for your unique circumstances. Your health is too important to risk not using the right catheter product.

Disclaimer: Please note that this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is only intended to provide a general understanding of the potential risks of reusing catheters according to research. This information should not be used in place of the recommendations and medical advice of your professional healthcare provider.

Sources:Bennett CJ, Young MN and Darrington H. PubMed. 1995.

Bennett CJ, Young MN, Razi SS, Adkins R, Diaz F, McCrary A. PubMed. 1997.

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About the Author:

Amy is the Web Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical. Her favorite thing about working at 180 Medical is being part of a company that is truly committed to improving the lives of its customers. When she's not at work she enjoys traveling, kayaking, rock climbing, and spending time with her husband and three, incredible stepkids.

Grant's Spinal Cord Injury Won't Stop His Dreams

by Jessica June 20 2018 05:38
meet grant spinal cord injury scholarship recipient

Every year since our founder, Todd Brown, instated our annual scholarship program, we've heard so many amazing and inspiring stories from talented and determined students of all ages who are ready to achieve their dreams through higher education and take on the world!

June 1st was the cut-off date for taking applications for the 2018 school year, and in the last few months, we've received a whole new batch of applications from a wide variety of hopeful students, all aiming for their chance to earn one of the seven available 2018 180 Medical College Scholarship awards.

We always look forward to this time of year, and we're excited to begin our judging process soon.

For now, however, we'd love for you to get to know our scholarship recipients of 2017. You can find out more about each one of them and their goals in college, including MeghaFrankChelseaJosephElizabeth, and Heidi.

Last but not least, we're excited to introduce you to the final recipient of 2017. Meet Grant! 

grant 180 medical scholarship recipient quote 2017

Achieving Goals Despite Challenges

When Grant was injured 4 years ago at just 15 years old, it's possible that his life might have taken an entirely different direction if he had allowed himself to give up.

However, he worked hard to make it through rehabilitation therapy in just 3 months, despite his severe injury as a new C-6/7/8 quadriplegic. He came home from rehab at the end of the summer and went right back to school in September.

Grant was determined to continue to pursue his educational goals, no matter what new struggles he faced with his new disability. 

In fact, he didn't let his injury stop him from still attending almost every basketball game with his team, and he made sure to cheer his teammates on with a positive spirit.

During his time in high school, he received the Booster Club Senior Athlete of the Year award, as well as the Academic Excellence Award from his current college, Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU), for his outstanding GPA and his ACT score.

grant at physical therapy
Grant works hard in regular physical therapy to build and maintain his strength, despite his spinal cord injury.

Growing & Gaining Ground

adaptive driving for sci grantGrant's primary focus is continuing to work his way through college as a Business major while continuing his physical and occupational therapy. On top of working toward a degree, he has other passions and hobbies that keep him busy, including running his personal YouTube channel, gaming, and even writing a book about his life experiences. 

He recently acquired an adaptive vehicle and got his driver's license, stays active in his local church, and attends a monthly meeting for business owners, entrepreneurs, and creators. He hopes to continue learning from others' experiences in business and use this in his own goals.

Grant has shown true willpower and determination to achieve his dreams and better himself at every opportunity, and we here at 180 Medical wish him all the best in his future endeavors!

About the 180 Medical Scholarship

A college education can be difficult to afford for many students and their families, especially those who are living with conditions like spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, neurogenic bladder, and/or an ostomy (ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy). That's why 180 Medical established a scholarship program to help students who are determined to achieve their goals, despite their condition.

We have stopped taking applications for the 2018 180 Medical College Scholarship as of June 1st. However, you can find full information, including eligibility requirements, at You can also keep an eye on our social media pages for our official announcement of the seven recipients for 2018 on August 1st!

180 medical scholarship program for ostomy sci spina bifida

jessica 180 medical blog authorAbout the Author:

Jessica is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator, & she has been with 180 Medical for nearly 9 years. To her, the best part of working at 180 Medical is the opportunity to truly make a difference in peoples' lives. In her downtime, she enjoys creative writing, seeing new places, & spending time with her loved ones & her dogs. 

Receptionist Employee Spotlight: Meet Melissa

by Jessica June 5 2018 06:39
melissa receptionist 180 medical

180 Medical is a leading supplier in the nation for intermittent catheters and ostomy products. We make it a goal to staff our company with people who truly want to help people and make a difference, and we love to reward and recognize our employees for the amazing work they do. 

Today, we'd love for you to meet Melissa, one of our long-time employees who currently works as the Lead Receptionist.

Melissa, you've been a valued employee at 180 Medical for nearly 10 years! Congratulations! What makes having a career with 180 Medical so rewarding to you?

melissa and angie Above all else, 180 Medical treats their employees like family. That means a lot to me, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way.

I feel great pride in everything we accomplish. We do everything in our power to help our customers and give them the best service possible.

Knowing that I come to work to actively take part in helping others every day is a huge plus. I just feel truly blessed to work for 180 Medical.

You've held a variety of roles within the company. Talk to us a little bit about some of the previous job titles you've had and what you do now. 

alexandra quoteWhen I first started at 180 Medical in July of 2008, I was hired as a Documentation Specialist.

Later, as the company grew and more and more referrals came in from hospitals and doctor's facilities for more catheter supply orders, I was given the opportunity to move to an Account Coordinator position. I began to work and process all of the inbound faxes.

As we continued to grow even more, that workload increased tremendously within the next few years, so a few more people were added on to that team to help out with the growing number of referrals to process.

I am now working as the Lead Receptionist.

On top of answering the phones alongside my team, my job involves executive assistant duties and helping the reception team become the very best it can be, since we are the very first ones to speak to our customers when they call in.

What do you think makes the receptionist team and 180 Medical stand apart from other companies?

Almost all other companies out there, even medical supply providers, use automated systems to answer all of their incoming calls and direct their customers to a department using complicated phone menus. It's also the norm for most people to be put on hold for a long time when they call other companies, just waiting to speak to a real person. 

At 180 Medical, our customers' experiences are totally different!

From the moment you dial our number, your call is answered by a live person (one of the receptionists on my team). They will listen to your needs and determine where to transfer your call, all while treating you with courtesy and compassion. And we make it our goal, no matter how busy we get, to never let you stay waiting on hold for more than a minute or two.

We make it a point to be stand apart from other companies out there, because we want to help anyone who needs us and turn their lives around!

We all genuinely enjoy what we do, and we can provide the quality intermittent catheter and ostomy products you need along with top-notch, personalized customer service that that is noticeably different from other medical supply companies.

melissa and receptionists thunder up

What do you like to do most when you're not at work?

I love to spend time with my three girls and my husband. We are really involved with church and our church family, and I love getting the opportunity to reach out and help others through that as well.

If I had to pick, I'd say my favorite place in the world is at the lake with my friends and family, just swimming and fishing all day. 

melissa fishing in 180 medical gear

What's something during your time at 180 Medical that has truly made you proud of yourself and your career?

rylie quoteWinning the Company Coin at one of our recent quarterly meetings has definitely been my greatest accomplishment so far.

The Company Coin is awarded by our executive team to employees that stand out, go above and beyond, and display an owner's mentality and integrity.

It is such an honor to be chosen for such an award!

Melissa, you're such an important part of the 180 Medical family!

Thank you for everything you do in displaying the 180 Way, both inside and outside of the workplace.

If you want to love what you do and work at a place where you are a valued employee, check out our available job positions and apply today!

180 medical is hiring

jessica 180 medical blog authorAbout the Author:

Jessica is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator, & she has been with 180 Medical for nearly 9 years. To her, the best part of working at 180 Medical is the opportunity to truly make a difference in peoples' lives. In her downtime, she enjoys creative writing, seeing new places, & spending time with her loved ones & her dogs. 

What Can I Eat After Colostomy Surgery?

by Jessica May 23 2018 05:46
what can i eat after colostomy surgery

One of the most common questions people living with colostomies have is how their eating habits may change after having their ostomy procedure. After all, food is not just a necessity for living; it is also a focal point of many social gatherings, like family dinners and dates. 

If you have recently had your colostomy procedure, your main focus is probably on healing from your procedure, as well as learning how to put on and take off your colostomy pouching system.

However, knowing what you can and cannot eat will go a long way in helping you go back to your normal routine as you heal.

Let's take a moment to go over some of the basics of eating after a colostomy. 

Colostomy Nutrition Tips

First, let’s dispel one myth right away. Having an colostomy does not mean that you have to let go of your favorite foods forever. Many people who have an ostomy procedure are able to return to their normal diet within six weeks or so. 

woman eating pizzaKeep in mind that everyone's anatomy is different, so certain types of foods may cause a reaction in one person while it doesn't at all in another person, whether or not they have a colostomy.

For example, you may know someone who loves spicy food and can eat hot salsa and peppers easily, while foods like that can be a gastronomical nightmare for someone else. 

Remember that you are an individual with unique needs. Consider eliminating any foods that may trigger allergies or any condition you may have, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). You'll probably also want to eliminate any foods that you may not have tolerated well in the past before your colostomy.

For the most part, however, most people can return to their old diet after healing from their colostomy surgery with an okay from their treating physician.

Of course, there are certain foods that may cause more gas or odor, as well as other foods that can loosen or thicken your stool output. Just talk to your doctor about your diet to know for certain which foods you should avoid and which foods you can include back into your diet after your ostomy procedure. 

To get a better understanding of food for ostomates, check out this ostomy nutrition guide from the University of Pittsburgh. 

talk to your doctor about diet after ostomy

Colostomy Nutrition Tips

After your surgery and during follow-up appointments to see how your stoma is healing, your doctor will likely go over some nutrition basics with you, including what foods you may want to avoid or include in your diet, based on your individual needs.

steamed meat and veggie bowlHow quickly you can return to a normal diet will depend entirely on your situation, including your medical condition and any food allergies you may have. Your doctor will take all this into account, including how well you are healing from your ostomy surgery.

Here are a few things that your doctor may advise to make digestion and caring for your colostomy easier:

  • Eat slowly
  • Chew your food very well
  • Eat regularly and in smaller portions to avoid excess gas 
  • Take it slow with re-introducing certain foods after your doctor has approved it
  • Drink enough fluids to stay properly hydrated

The most important thing to remember about your new colostomy is not to worry too much. Simply focus on healing well and getting used to life as a new ostomate. 

If you experience any issues, be sure to talk to your doctor or Wound, Ostomy, & Continence Nurse (WOCN).

And remember, if you need quality colostomy products from a reliable, top-rated ostomy supplier, 180 Medical is the place to go! Contact us today.

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3 Tips to Prevent Stress Incontinence During Physical Activity

by Jessica May 17 2018 05:55
3 tips to prevent stress incontinence during exercise

May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month, and now that the weather is warmer, many of us are ready to get active. You may feel like taking a walk or a roll in the park, participating in some adaptive sports with a team, or even competing in races for one of your favorite non-profit organizations or charities.

However, if you are one of the millions of people in America who live with urinary stress incontinence, your concerns about possible leakage or having an "accident" may be holding you back from taking part in your favorite physical activities.

lacing up for a runAt 180 Medical, we understand these fears and concerns. Every day, we talk to many customers who have urinary incontinence. We don't want anyone kept back from living a happy, independent, and active life if they are able, so we'd like to offer you some tips on how you may be able to prevent stress incontinence.

But first, let's talk a little bit more about stress incontinence and what causes it.

What is Stress Incontinence?

Stress incontinence is a type of urinary incontinence partial or complete loss of control over your bladder.

Most people who struggle with urinary incontinence experience involuntary release of urine from the bladder, often without warning.

With stress incontinence, urine loss may not be as severe, but it may occur more often during exercise, especially during activities that may increase pressure in your lower abdominal area. For this reason, you may also find you're experiencing some dribbling or leakage when you sneeze, cough, lift something, or laugh.

There are a few potential incontinence risk factors to know:

  • Age: Incontinence isn't something that happens to everyone as they grow older. It can affect anyone at any age, but it does tend to occur more frequently However, it does occur more often with increased age.
  • Gender: Although stress incontinence can happen to anyone, women tend to be a little more likely to experience this form of urinary incontinence than men. Female stress incontinence may be due in part to hormonal changes over one's lifetime, as well as the stretching of pelvic floor muscles during and after pregnancy or menopause.
  • Weight: Those living with a BMI above the recommended range may experience stress incontinence more frequently due to extra pressure on the internal organs, including the bladder.

losing weight to manage incontinence

Tips to Manage Stress Incontinence

1. Make Kegels a part of your daily exercise goals.

Many doctors recommend that their patients who live with stress incontinence start to focus on exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises may be suggested to help manage your urinary incontinence issues.

Your pelvic floor muscles are partly responsible for helping your bladder hold onto urine until you're ready to go. If these muscles are strengthened, it's more likely that you'll have better control over your bladder's function, depending on the reason for your condition.

Ask your doctor about pelvic floor exercises like Kegels and whether this may be a good option for your individual situation.

2. Avoid diuretic drinks.

caffeine coffee is a diureticAlcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks like coffee, soda, and tea are common culprits that can overstimulate the bladder. Diuretics dehydrate you and make your body lose more fluid, which in turn will make you need to use the restroom more often. This may cause more incidences of incontinence than if you consume fluids like water, juice, or other healthy and decaffeinated drinks.

Talk to your prescribing healthcare professional about how much fluid intake is right for your needs.

3. Drop excess weight.

Since extra weight, particularly in the abdominal region, can press on your bladder and cause leakage, it may be a good idea to lose weight to help reduce the occurrence of stress incontinence "accidents."

On top of that, fine-tuning your daily diet and exercising more often can improve your overall well-being and make it easier to enjoy the physical activities that you love. 

Consult with your doctor about whether you should lose any weight for your health. They can also discuss what could be the most efficient and healthiest way to lose weight for you.

Other Treatment Options for Incontinence

older couple walkingIf you have stress incontinence or any other symptoms of abnormal bladder function, please make an appointment to speak with your doctor. The sooner you can get your condition diagnosed, the sooner you can begin a treatment plan and get back to your normal life and favorite physical activities. 

In addition to treatment options such as lifestyle changes and prescription medication, your doctor might recommend the use of incontinence products like padded undergarments or external catheters.

It's possible that your doctor may also recommend that you begin draining your bladder with a urinary catheter to avoid leaking and dribbling and treat your incontinence issues. While this may sound intimidating at first, many people who live with urinary incontinence use intermittent catheter supplies every day and are able to participate in many of the same physical activities and sports that they enjoy. Even traveling with intermittent catheters can be a breeze once you get into a routine.

Has your doctor recommended that you start to use intermittent catheters as part of your individualized treatment plan? You may be asking yourself, "Where can I buy catheters?"

With over a decade of experience in specializing in intermittent catheter supplies, 180 Medical can provide you with the best quality intermittent catheters along with the best customer service in the business.

Contact us today!

Disclaimer: Please note that this is intended to provide a general understanding of stress incontinence and potential options for treatment. This information should not be used in place of the recommendations and treatment plan of your prescribing healthcare provider.

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