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5 Things You Should Know About Intermittent Catheters

Curious about the main things you should know about catheters? Here are five!

What Should I Know About Catheters?

1. Intermittent catheters are not all the same.

First, you should know that because no individual is exactly the same as another person, there’s no single catheter that will work for everyone. That’s why 180 Medical carries all the major brands of catheters along with all sorts of types, lengths, sizes, and other options.

Catheters also come in travel catheter sizes, which are also known as pocket catheters. Check out the various catheter types to see which one might best fit your preferences and needs.

click here to learn more about different catheter types

Also, if you want to know more about catheters, you can reach out to 180 Medical. We can provide you with catheter samples based on your doctor’s prescription and your insurance coverage. This way, you can try out a range of types to figure out what works and feels best for your individual needs.

Request Free Samples

2. Catheters come in a range of lengths and sizes.

Catheters are measured by the external diameter of the catheter tube, and this is commonly called a “French size.” You can tell the French size of a catheter by the color of its funnel end.

Catheter Funnel Reference Card

Your prescribing health practitioner will work with you to determine the best French size for your anatomy. If you have problems with the size, such as having difficulty with insertion or taking too long for urine to drain, you can give your doctor a call to discuss adjusting the size.

As one of the largest catheter suppliers in the nation, we likely have the size you need!

3. Catheter-Associated UTIs don’t have to be the norm.

You may be able to minimize your risk of contracting catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs or CAUTIs) by using catheters sterilely, which means using each intermittent urinary catheter once and then disposing of it.

You can also make sure to wash your hands thoroughly prior to catheterization, wear sterile gloves, and touch the catheter tube itself as little as possible when using regular straight catheters.

Options such as hydrophilic, pre-lubricated, or closed system catheters can minimize the risk because they do not require manual lubrication and are “touchless” for the most part. Many catheters can also be provided with insertion supplies, such as gloves, disinfectant wipes, and more.

For more detailed information on how to reduce UTIs, please see our article at

4. Intermittent catheters should be used only one time.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration of the United States) regulates all intermittent catheters as single-use devices. In other words, you may want to avoid washing or reusing catheters.

Why Should I Not Reuse Catheters?

Intermittent urinary catheters often have unique features such as crevices, angles, and porous surfaces. These can either create barriers to fully sterilizing the catheter. Also, these features are capable of quick bacterial growth, even after professional cleanings!

Studies indicate that using catheters more than once can increase the risk of UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections).

5. Many insurance plans cover catheters.

Think you’re stuck paying out of pocket for your catheters? Most major insurance plans, including Medicare, will cover enough intermittent catheters for sterile use.

See our handy insurance guide here.

Where Do I Get Catheters?

180 Medical is an ACHC-accredited provider of catheter supplies. We’ve been specializing in catheters for nearly 20 years, so we really know our stuff. Plus, we’re in-network with a constantly growing number of insurance plans, including Medicare, state Medicaid plans, and private insurance companies.

Not sure how your insurance plan will cover your supplies? Wondering what type of catheter will be best for you?

Get in touch with us when you’re ready. We’ll be happy to help you find a catheter that you’ll feel comfortable using. Plus, our highly-trained Product Specialists can answer any other questions you have about catheter supplies.

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Call Toll-Free (877) 688-2729

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About the Author
5 Things You Should Know About Intermittent Catheters
Jessica is the Sr. Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical, and she has been with the company for over 14 years now. She loves getting to be creative in her role and hearing from customers about the positive impact we've made on their lives.

Outside of work, you can find her hanging out with her husband and their dogs or browsing garden centers (where she will almost certainly buy another houseplant she doesn't really need).