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Best Practices for Self-Catheterization

If you’re starting to use catheters, you need to know about the best practices for self-catheterization. First, let’s talk about what catheters are.

Intermittent catheters are a type of medical device that’s used to drain the bladder. Many people across the world use catheters every day in the comfort of their own homes as well as in public restrooms.

Tips for Best Practices for Self-Catheterization

Catheters are technically invasive devices because they enter the body. Therefore, you should know all the right techniques for catheterization in order for it to be effective and not hurt you. For instance, UTIs (urinary tract infections) are one of the most common side effects of catheter usage. But you may be able to avoid complications by following some basic guidelines for how to cath.

1.Choose the right size and type of catheter for your needs.

At 180 Medical, you have a wide variety of catheter options from which to choose. There’s not just one type of catheter that works for everyone. Talk to your doctor to figure out what size of catheter to use. Plus, they can tell you how often to cath and offer any medical advice that you need.

Next, talk to our Product Specialists at 180 Medical. Our staff isn’t just the friendliest around. They are also highly-trained catheter experts who know our products inside and out. We can work with your healthcare professional and your insurance coverage to come up with a personalized catheter order that’s just right for you.

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In the meantime, here are some factors to consider:

  • Size: To minimize trauma and irritation to your urethra and to maximize urine flow, the correct French size of the 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, including uncoated catheters, hydrophilic catheters, and closed system catheters – to name a few.
  • Insertion tip: Catheters typically come with a straight insertion tip. However, some people have difficulty inserting straights and may need a curved insertion tip known as a coudé catheter to bypass obstructions. Your doctor can determine this for you.

2. 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 healthcare 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.

3. Use good 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 are minimized significantly. Sterile catheterization is safer, and most medical professionals recommend it to avoid complications like infections.

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.

Ready to Start Getting Catheters Delivered?

180 Medical is ready to help you. We’ll help you navigate your insurance coverage and set you up on your orders. Next, our Shipping Specialists will carefully pack your order and ship it discreetly to your home. We offer easy reordering options too!

Get started by contacting us now!

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About the Author
Best Practices for Self-Catheterization
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).