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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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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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Bladder-Friendly Mango Salsa

by AmyHernandez May 16 2018 05:48

For many of the 4 to 12 million people in the US living with Interstitial Cystitis (also known as IC, painful bladder syndrome, chronic pelvic pain, or bladder pain syndrome) sticking to a certain bladder-friendly diet allows them to keep their pain in check. However, the extensive lists of ‘foods to avoid’ can be discouraging, and trying to only eat the ‘safe foods’ can make some people afraid to even eat anything!

It can also be difficult to find bladder-friendly recipes online or elsewhere for those living with Interstitial Cystitis. That’s exactly what led 180 Medical employee, Trish, who has IC, to get creative and make up some of her own recipes that are tasty and easy on the bladder. Because she could not find a mango salsa recipe without spicy peppers, lime, or other citrus, she decided to make her own!



 Without further ado, we give you...

Trish's Bladder-Friendly Mango Salsa

   

INGREDIENTS:

  • Small sweet peppers or large red, yellow, and orange bell peppers (you can change the size of the vegetables based upon how much you need to make for your meal)
  • One small white or red onion (depending on how strong you like your onion and what your bladder can tolerate)
  • One large ripe-ish mango (it must still be firm or it does not cut very well)
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • Black pepper


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Wash and cut peppers in half, clean out the seeds.

  2. Peel, wash, chop the onion, chop the peppers, put them all in a bowl.

  3. Chop the mango, clean the seeds.

  4. Place the mango into the bowl with the other veggies, stir them together, then add a teaspoon or a splash of olive oil, two small pinches of sea salt, and one to two turns of ground black pepper (depending upon what your bladder can tolerate).

  5. Stir everything together, and chill until served.

  6. Serve with grilled salmon, tacos, corn chips, chicken—you name it!

Even though there is currently no known cure for Interstitial Cystitis, there are many treatments that can help minimize symptoms. Eating foods that cause less bladder irritation is a great start! Keep in mind that the different foods and beverages which impact bladder symptoms are unique for each person living with IC, so you might have to try many different options before you find the right diet for your own needs.

Since many of our customers live with conditions that require them to use catheters, such as spinal cord injury, neurogenic bladder, and sometimes Interstitial Cystitis, bladder health is a core focus here at 180 Medical. If you are suffering through the symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis, know that you are not alone in your personal journey.

Do you have any favorite recipes from your Interstitial Cystitis diet that you'd like to share? Send them over to us so we can continue sharing bladder-friendly recipes with the IC community!



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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, camping, rock climbing, and spending time with her husband and three incredible stepchildren.

The Link Between Urinary Incontinence & Depression in Women

by Jessica February 17 2018 00:22
urinary incontinence and depression in women link

Being afraid to sneeze or laugh too hard...rushing to make it to the restroom in time...worrying about leakage...

These probably sound like familiar concerns if you're one of the 13 million people in the United States who live with urinary incontinence.

When you have urinary incontinence, fears like this are normal. However, you may find that your mood has persistently worsened over time, and you may be dealing with feelings of sadness or hopelessness that are hard if not impossible to shake off.

Although a healthcare professional will need to see you in order to properly diagnose you and get you started on a treatment plan that gets your life turned back around and back on track, it's very possible that you could be suffering from depression related to incontinence.

Still, we understand you probably want answers now before you schedule an appointment to see your doctor, and 180 Medical has the need-to-know info about incontinence and depression. We've also included some helpful resources and support options in this blog. Read on to learn more!


Who Is Affected By Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence can happen to anyone at any age, but studies show that women experience urinary incontinence twice as much as men do.

Why is that? The main factor is the pelvic anatomy of women and how it differs from that of men, as well as hormonal fluctuations that occur during menopause. 


Other potential causes of female incontinence may include:

  • Bladder muscle weakness
  • Pelvic floor weakness
  • Urinary tract infections, which can increase the urge the void your bladder and sometimes cause leakage
  • Being over the healthy weight for your body type and height
  • A medical condition from birth like spina bifida, which can also affect the bladder, depending upon severity
  • Side effects from certain medicines
  • Drinking diuretic liquids like coffee, tea, and colas
  • Certain neurological disorders

Women are also more susceptible to UTIs (urinary tract infections) and bladder infections, and this can sometimes worsen incontinence. This is because UTIs tend to increase the urge to void the bladder, sometimes involuntarily.

The additional risk of infections in women is also due to anatomy. The vagina, urethra, and anus are positioned more closely together on the female body, which makes it easier for bacteria to travel up the urethra.


depression in females with urinary incontinence

Can Urinary Incontinence Cause Depression?

As mentioned earlier, there actually is a strong link between urinary incontinence and depression, particularly in younger women. A recent paper published by researchers took a look at this connection and tried to find out the causes as well as what could be done to treat both conditions. 

One potential cause identified could be weight gain and/or childbirth, which are both commonly related to urinary incontinence as well as depression (particularly postpartum depression in the case of new mothers). The reason for this is that when the pelvic floor muscles are stretched, whether due to bearing a child, gaining weight, or other conditions, it can make it more difficult to tighten the muscles that close off the sphincter of the bladder, and this can result in mild to excessive leakage or dribbling of urine.

Another reason may be related to societal stigma regarding disorders affecting the bladder and bowels. People living with incontinence may feel like they're totally alone, or they may experience shame or embarrassment about their condition.

The research ultimately concluded that more must be done to educate women on prevention and treatment options for incontinence as well as depression. 


Treatment of Incontinence and Depression

If you are experiencing urinary incontinence and/or feelings of depression, we want to assure you that there is nothing to feel ashamed of. Millions of other people are going through this too, and even if you feel some embarrassment addressing these conditions with your doctor, they will not judge or shame you in any way. Healthcare professionals want to help their patients heal and find proper treatment plans in order to improve your condition and your overall quality of life.

Treatments depend on your personal medical history as well as the severity and type of symptoms you're experiencing.

Your doctor may also want you to record a bladder diary for several days or weeks as well, which may sound like a pain, but they may be able to provide you with an easy-to-use booklet in which to record your symptoms, when and how often you're urinating or having accidents, and other information.

urinary incontinence bladder diary appThere are also some helpful smartphone apps, such as UroBladderDiary, which may be easier for you to use. Recording this kind of information in an app rather than a written journal can also be a real help if you want to keep your symptoms private from those around you. 

While it may seem daunting right now, the sooner you can schedule an appointment with your doctor, the sooner you can get on the road to recovery.

Even if it doesn't feel like it right now, there is light ahead.


Helpful Resources and Support

A few resources and options for support, both online and in-person, can definitely be useful when you're not sure where to go next for information. 

These links may be helpful in your journey back to wellness
:

Incontinence Support Center: A Caring Community
This website has helpful articles as well as an online forum where you can talk to other women who are experiencing the same symptoms as you are.

Daily Strength Urinary Incontinence Support Group
Connect online with others living with urinary incontinence and other bladder issues. You can find support, encouragement, and tips from fellow women living with incontinence.

ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) Support Groups Near You

Find free support groups near you. This helpful website also offers facts about depression and anxiety, tips on how to deal with your feelings, and more.

Postpartum Support International
Learn more about life after having a child, including postpartum depression and potential therapy options. You also have options to call a support line and chat with a mental health expert, join an online support group for other women living with postpartum depression, and more. 

Crisis Text Line
This free support is available 24 hours a day, every day, for those in crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor can respond and text with you on a secure platform and help you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Sometimes depression and feelings of hopelessness can become so severe that you don't feel like there is any other way out of your problems, but there always is. You can visit this website, or if you need someone to speak with immediately, simply call their toll-free hotline at 1-800-273-8255 at any time of day, and someone can speak with you.


Intermittent Catheterization As Incontinence Treatment

treat your incontinence and depressionIf your doctor determines that something as simple as intermittent catheterization can help treat your urinary incontinence, our Catheter Specialists at 180 Medical are always ready to lend you a compassionate ear and walk you through your first experience of getting the right female catheter products for your individual needs. 

You will never be shamed or made to feel embarrassed when you speak with anyone at 180 Medical. This is our specialty, and we speak to many people of all ages and genders who require the use of intermittent catheters, ostomy products, and other related medical supplies.

Our goal is to help turn your life around, so we'll do what we can to make the experience of getting your catheters and other female incontinence supplies as easy and worry-free as possible. 

With the right resources and support behind you, you could be feeling like your old self again soon! If you're experiencing symptoms of incontinence or depression, it's a great idea to get the ball rolling by calling your doctor to schedule an appointment to diagnose your symptoms today.



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Our Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017

by Jessica December 29 2017 14:36
180 medical's top 10 most popular blog posts of 2017

2017 has been a wonderful year for 180 Medical, and we certainly hope it's been a year of good health and fun for you too!

We posted a lot of blogs over the year, including topics like the latest catheter and ostomy product news, fun company happenings and charitable events in our community, in-depth looks at our inspiring 2017 Scholarship Program recipients, and as always, helpful and informative posts related to intermittent catheters, ostomy supplies, and more.

While we look forward ahead to all the great things coming in 2018, we've compiled this list of 180 Medical's ten most popular blog posts from 2017!


top blogs of 2017 10top blogs of 2017 10 Steps to Receiving Your Ostomy Supplies
If you are about to undergo or have recently had an ostomy surgery (whether ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy), you're probably looking for some of the most concise, helpful basics about how to start getting the ostomy products and accessories that you will need. From getting the right fit and the necessary supplies for your individual needs to getting your very first shipment, 180 Medical is here to help and support you the whole way!


top blogs of 2017 9Why Do I Need to Use Coudé Catheters?
If you've been advised by your doctor that you need to use a curved tip or coudé catheter, you might be wondering what this kind of urinary catheter is for and why you need to use this type rather than the standard straight tip. This blog post sums up everything you need to know about what coudé catheters are, what they're used for, factors or conditions that contribute to the need to use a coudé tip instead of a straight tip catheter, as well as information on how to insert and use a coudé catheter.


top blogs of 2017 8Determined Spirit: Jen Goodwin's Story of Life After Her Spinal Cord Injury
We are honored by being able to feature some of our customers on our blog along with their unique stories, and when you read Jen's story, you can see why she is such a delight to speak with, as well as a true inspiration to all who know her. Jen could have chosen to give up after an accident left her quadriplegic. Instead, she decided to set her sights high and began achieving her goals, one after the other. A lot of readers, including everyone at 180 Medical, were awed by Jen and her incredible story.


top blogs of 2017 7Tips for Preventing the Risk of UTIs When Cathing
UTIs (urinary tract infections) are not all that uncommon to people who use catheters. Find out more about some of the most common symptoms of UTIs, some risk factors, as well as the best ways to prevent the recurrence of infections.


top blogs of 2017 6Bladder Cancer: Symptoms and Risk Factors
Did you know that bladder cancer is the 5th most commonly diagnosed cancer in the USA? It's important to know some of the potential causes/risks as well as symptoms. The sooner bladder cancer can be diagnosed, the sooner treatment and recovery can begin.


top blogs of 2017 5Tips for Holiday Travel When You Have Urinary Incontinence
Traveling around the busy holidays, whether by car or plane, can be stressful enough without also dealing with urinary incontinence. We've got the tips to help you navigate traveling, whether by car or plane, including TSA regulations for carry-on luggage, helpful smartphone apps to find public bathrooms, and other helpful information.


top blogs of 2017 4Beating Spinal Cord Injury One Day at a Time: Mason Ellis's Story
Since a car accident in Mason's senior year of high school left him quadriplegic, he has been determined to beat his injury. He has become an inspiration to many through his determination and sincere desire to connect with others and help them. Find out all about what he does now to help others, including starting up his own successful YouTube channel to help others with spinal cord injuries and limited mobility accomplish tasks like dressing, dealing with spasms, self-cathing, and more.


top blogs of 2017 3Top 10 Reasons to Work at 180 Medical
180 Medical has been voted one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma (based on employee's anonymous feedback) for eight years for many reasons. If you're seeking a career with a company that devotes itself to core values like compassion and integrity where you can truly make a difference, check out some of the top reasons to apply at 180 Medical.


top blogs of 2017 2What are the Basics of Clean Intermittent Catheterization?
Intermittent catheterization doesn't sound fun or easy when you're brand new to it, but with the right information and instructions at hand, you can become a seasoned pro at self-cathing. Check out our helpful post on the basics of what intermittent urinary catheters and the process of cathing is all about.


top blogs of 2017 1Pocket Catheters 101
Pocket catheters are all the buzz in the cathing world this year, and we suspect the trend for discreet, travel-ready catheters will continue as more people find out about these handy urinary catheter options. Find out all about what pocket catheters are and why they are both popular and beneficial for many catheter-users, and take a look at a few of the many options available at 180 Medical.

Thank you for reading our blog! We at 180 Medical wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy new year to come, and we hope you'll join us for all the informative and interesting posts in 2018.


About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.

 

Tips for Preventing the Risk of UTIs When Cathing

by Jessica December 15 2017 05:50
tips for preventing UTIs when self-cathing

One of the most common complications for people who intermittently self-catheterize is the development of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Find out more about UTIs and what you can do to help prevent them.


Common Symptoms of UTIs

uti symptoms feverSome common symptoms of urinary tract infections that you may experience may include:

  • Smelly or cloudy urine
  • Blood appearing in urine
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Increased urgency (feeling the need to empty your bladder often & sometimes without warning)
  • Pain in the abdomen or lower back
  • Burning, uncomfortable sensation inside the urethra
If you are experiencing symptoms of a UTI, see your doctor as soon as possible. The sooner your treatment can begin, the sooner you can beat your UTI and start feeling better.


Why Do People Who Use Catheters Have a Higher Risk of UTIs?

Self-cathing requires the insertion of a foreign object (a catheter) into your urethra to drain the bladder. This may increase the possibility of bacteria being pushed farther into the urethra and causing an infection if the bacteria linger and multiply.

UTIs are sometimes referred to as CAUTIs (catheter-associated urinary tract infections) when the person who has developed the infection also uses catheters. CAUTIs occur when bacteria or pathogens are introduced to the urethra via a foley catheter or intermittent catheter, then travel up to enter the bladder and even the kidneys if the infection goes untreated.

Consider the following tips to better prevent the recurrence of UTIs.


Ways to Prevent a UTI When You Self-Cath

washing hands before cathingFollow the cathing regimen as your doctor has prescribed. 

Cathing the amount of times per as recommended by your healthcare professional will keep your bladder properly drained, and this will minimize risk of urine staying in your bladder too long.


Wash your hands before and after catheterization.

If you don't practice proper hygiene by washing your hands well, the germs and bacteria on your hands can contaminate your catheter as you insert it. Using sterile gloves is a good option for preventing contamination from your hands if you don't have easy access to clean water and soap.


Don't reuse your catheter.

Reusing catheters may increase your risk of contracting a UTI or a bladder infection. Even if you're cleaning your catheters after using them, they can still have bacteria and pathogens on or inside the tube. Once your catheter has been used, it is no longer sterile. Just throw it away after use, and be sure to keep enough catheter supplies on hand so you'll have a new sterile catheter ready when it's time to self-cath again.

Most private insurance companies, state Medicaid programs, and Medicare cover enough intermittent catheters per month to ensure you don't have to wash and reuse your catheters.

Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions about your current insurance policy's coverage for catheters and other related urological supplies.


lubricating your male length catheterMake sure you're using enough lubrication. 

Using adequate lubricant, whether in sterile individual packets or a tube, helps minimize irritation to your urethra as you insert and withdraw your intermittent catheter. 


Try hydrophilic catheters.

Hydrophilic catheters, such as the GentleCath™ Glide (available in both male length and female length), are designed to reduce the discomfort of urethral irritation and friction even more than standard straight catheters and lubrication.

Hydrophilic catheters also typically include a handling sleeve which will allow you to guide the catheter in without actually touching the tube, which minimizes the risk of contamination from your hands.


gentlecath closed system catheterUse a closed system with a pre-lubricated introducer tip.

The soft and flexible introducer tip lets the catheter get past where the highest concentrations of bacteria are located, which can minimize the risk of pushing germs farther up your urethra.

Closed system catheters are self-contained and come with collection bags and sometimes even include insertion supplies like disinfecting wipes and gloves. This type of catheter can be especially useful for those who are in wheelchairs or people who travel frequently and use public restrooms. 


Learn how to properly catheterize.

 If you're experiencing frequent UTIs and you self-cath, it's time to consider your current cathing routine. Are you doing everything your doctor has recommended, such as practicing proper hygiene, drinking enough fluids, and cathing the recommended amount of times per day? 


At 180 Medical, we carry high-quality catheter products from all major manufacturers with products on the market today. We also gladly provide catheterization instructions and resources that offer information on how to cath (available for men using straight or coudé tip catheters, women using female length catheters, and children using pediatric intermittent catheters, and more). 

180 medical catheter brands

See your doctor with any questions about infections and how often you should be cathing. Feel free to contact us if you want to try out alternate catheter product options that may be better suited for your needs and preferences.

Disclaimer: Please note that this post is intended to provide a general understanding of some of the ways that could possibly help prevent urinary tract infections. This information should not be used in place of the recommendations of your doctor or other prescribing professional healthcare provider.

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What Is Neurogenic Bladder?

by Jessica October 31 2017 06:36
what is neurogenic bladder

If you think you have neurogenic bladder, you should know that you are certainly not alone. Neurogenic bladder can happen to anyone at any age from newborns to senior citizens. While millions of people in the United States live with neurogenic bladder, we understand it can feel like a sensitive topic to discuss. Read on to find out the answers to some of your questions about neurogenic bladder. 

What Causes Neurogenic Bladder?

Neurogenic bladder is typically caused by another condition that affects the nerves of the bladder and/or the way the urinary system functions, including difficulty controlling when and how the bladder stores or releases urine. A number of different conditions could potentially cause neurogenic bladder, including the fmollowing:

  • Spina bifida 
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Stroke
  • Spinal cord injuries or spinal nerve trauma
  • Nerve damage from pelvic/abdominal surgery

What Are the Symptoms of Neurogenic Bladder?

Typically, the symptoms vary from person to person. It will likely depend on the extent of nerve damage. There are sub-categories of neurogenic bladder, which are Overactive Bladder and Underactive Bladder. Some people present with symptoms of their bladder being both overactive and underactive. 

An overactive bladder will typically present with symptoms of leakage of urine or more severe incontinence, depending on the severity of the condition. There may be issues with frequent urination, or feeling the need to go to the bathroom multiple times, whether it's daytime or at night. 

An underactive bladder doesn't release urine the way it should, which means the muscles around the bladder or the urethra may stay tightened rather than relaxing to allow the bladder to fully empty. 

living with neurogenic bladderHaving symptoms like these may make you want to isolate yourself or back out of activities because of anxiety about possible leaks or frequent trips to the restroom. Untreated neurogenic bladder can put a kink in plans and keep you from doing things you normally enjoy doing.  You might even be dealing with some fatigue if you have to get up frequently during the night due to an overactive bladder or occasional unexpected messes.

Urinary tract infections or bladder infections can also occur if the bladder is not fully emptying, and depending on your symptoms, if left untreated, it could potentially cause more severe infections or even kidney damage. This is why seeking treatment is so important.

What is the Treatment for Neurogenic Bladder?

Whatever the cause, we understand that having a neurogenic bladder can significantly impact your quality of life. That's why it's so important to schedule an appointment with a urologist or your general health practitioner as soon as possible when you notice any strange symptoms impacting your bladder's health. Fast treatment may be able to prevent kidney damage or other issues. Your doctor will likely review your medical history, go over any recent possible injuries or other physical symptoms you may have had, and order several tests to determine the cause. 

treatment of neurogenic bladderIf you are diagnosed with neurogenic bladder, know that there are plenty of options for treatment that can help, many of which could be as simple as basic lifestyle changes, depending on the severity of your condition. Your doctor is the right person to go to for this information, and they will be able to suggest the treatments that they determine may be right for your individual needs, your medical history, and your preferences.

Some options for treating neurogenic bladder may include but are not limited to:

  • Medication
  • Scheduled intermittent catheterization
  • Dietary and fluid intake changes
  • Bladder augmentation
  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Urinary diversion

Intermittent catheters are commonly used to aid urination and improve day-to-day life. Catheterization may help you gain back a sense of independence, and you may feel less anxious about potential messes or not being able to urinate on your own when you know you have the right amount of sterile catheters on hand, no matter where you go. 

In cases where the doctor determines that the dysfunction of the bladder is severe enough, it may warrant a procedure known as a urostomy, which creates an artificial opening known as a stoma so the urine can be diverted and emptied from the body more efficiently. If you end up undergoing a urostomy procedure, you'll need urostomy supplies.

At 180 Medical, we specialize in both intermittent catheters and ostomy products, and we like to treat every customer like a member of our own family. When you call our team of specialists, you can feel confident knowing that we'll listen to your needs and preferences while treating your sensitive situation with the compassion and care that you deserve.

Contact us today!

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What are the Basics of Clean Intermittent Catheterization?

by Jessica October 13 2017 05:29
what to know about catherization

If you or someone you care for requires the use of a urinary catheter to empty the bladder, you should know the basics of intermittent catheterization. Intermittent catheterization is necessary when someone cannot empty their bladder completely. 

Reasons People Need to Use Catheters

child in wheelchair There are a number of conditions that could require intermittent catheterization, and people of all ages from newborn children to senior citizens use urinary catheters. Some may need to catheterize due to a condition like Spina Bifida or a spinal cord injury, which can affect the nerves controlling the bladder (neurogenic bladder). Other reasons to cath include multiple sclerosis, a stroke, bladder retention, incontinence, and other related conditions that may affect the bladder or urinary system.

Intermittent urinary catheters can be life-saving for those who have no ability to release urine naturally. If the bladder does not completely empty, a number of complications could occur, including infections that could become severe if left untreated.

Clean Intermittent Catheterization 101

The first thing to know is that not every catheterization schedule fits every single person. Depending on how much urine is retained or how severe their condition is, a person might need to self-catheterize anywhere from a few times a week to multiple times every day. The best way to go about finding out what self-catheterization regimen is going to work best for your individual needs, please consult with your urologist, primary care physician, or other prescribing healthcare professional for the type and size of catheter best suited for your anatomy. They will also be able to tell you how often you will need to cath and if this is a long-term or short-term need. 

Once you have that down, there are a few things to know to successfully cath. Whenever possible, try to catheterize in a clean environment. We know you can't always guarantee the sterility of the restrooms you're at when in public, at work, at school, or on vacation, so a product like a hydrophilic catheter or a closed system catheter may help reduce the risk of infection by keeping your hands off of the catheter tube itself as well as making the process more comfortable and well-lubricated. 

A few supplies you may want to keep on hand include:
  • Your catheter
  • A discreet bag for disposal (if you wish to maintain privacy in a public restroom setting)
  • Insertion supplies that may further help reduce the risk of infection such as gloves, an underpad, and disinfecting wipes
  • Soap and a clean water supply to wash your hands before and after catheterization
  • Lubrication (depending on the type of catheter you use)

catheter insertion suppliesYou should wash your hands thoroughly with warm or hot water and soap before you begin handling the catheter. Using gloves or disinfecting wipes can also further help prevent contamination from any bacteria or other germs on your hands, and this may reduce your chances of getting a urinary tract infection. 

For more detailed instructions on how to catheterize, check out our handy step-by-step cathing instructions, available for men, women, and children too.

What Else to Know About Catheters?

Intermittent catheters are single-use devices, which means that should be used only once and then thrown away. This helps to prevent contamination and infection. The bacteria and pathogens left behind on or inside the catheter can cause illness if re-inserted into the body, and professional and home cleanings are generally not able to fully sterilize intermittent catheters. This is why it's best to always practice good hygiene with a new, sterile catheter and accessories every time, and never re-use a catheter to help prevent the risks of infection.

At 180 Medical, we care about your health and your safety, so we offer a number of helpful resources to assist you as you begin using an intermittent catheter. For other questions, we encourage you to contact our team of Customer Specialists today!


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Interstitial Cystitis and Bladder Pain Syndrome Awareness Month

by admin September 27 2017 07:33
interstitial cystitis awareness month 2017

September is Interstitial Cystitis and Bladder Pain Syndrome Awareness Month, and we want to take time to discuss the importance of spreading awareness and share some vital information that could potentially help others who are living with this condition. Bladder health is a big focus here at 180 Medical. Many of our customers live with conditions that require them to use catheters, such as spinal cord injuries, neurogenic bladder, bladder retention or incontinence, and sometimes Interstitial Cystitis (also called Bladder Pain Syndrome, or BPS), among many other reasons.

ic awareness month

Interstitial Cystitis can happen to anyone, although it tends to occur more frequently in women rather than men, and it happened to me. 

My name is Trish, and I have worked for 180 Medical for over 6 years. I live with Interstitial Cystitis as well as Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. Let me tell you a bit about this condition and why awareness is so important.

What is Interstitial Cystitis?

According to the Interstitial Cystitis Association, about 4 million Americans are living with IC. Some of the symptoms of IC can be similar to other issues and conditions, so it can take time to diagnose, but here are some of the main identifying symptoms to watch out for:

  • Pain and/or pressure in the bladder and/or pelvic area
  • Urgency and frequency of urination
  • Lack of infection and negative cultures, despite exhibiting symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Spasms
  • Burning sensation
  • Nocturia (urge to urinate at night)
  • Painful intercourse

How Is Interstitial Cystitis Treated?

While currently there is no known cure, there are a variety of treatments that may make symptoms more manageable. A few options include:
  • Avoid triggering foods and follow the IC Diet or your doctor's recommendations for a diet regimen
  • Botox injections in the bladder
  • Physical therapy
  • Neuromodulation, which is electrical nerve stimulators that send mild pulses to the nerves in the lower back to help relieve chronic pain and/or assist in urinary function
  • Over-the-counter medicine (consider your doctor's advice on which types or brands to seek out)
  • Antidepressants
  • Pain management 
  • Surgical procedures
  • Bladder instillations

My Experience With Bladder Instillations

I have had some success with controlling my Interstitial Cystitis with diet and medication, but recently, my symptoms worsened. My urologist recommended bladder instillations as a treatment option, which is a drug therapy method where an anti-inflammatory combination of medication (Heparin, lidocaine, and sodium bicarbonate) is inserted directly into the bladder via a catheter to reduce irritation. The in-office treatments were scheduled for once a week five weeks in a row.

It took about four instillations before I noticed a difference in my symptoms, but everyone is different. Some people might need only one instillation per week, like me, while others might require more instillations per week or over a longer period of time. People who self-cath and receive intermittent catheters may be able to administer the bladder instillation treatments at home if approved by their doctor. Your urologist or other prescribing healthcare professional will be able to come up with the best plan for your individual needs.

Awareness About Interstitial Cystitis Helps

living with interstitial cystitisBecause some of the symptoms of IC mimic other conditions, not everyone who lives with it knows they have it. Sometimes, people just don't want to address this condition with a doctor due to its nature. However, the more we all do our part in spreading awareness, the stigma surrounding issues with the bladder will lessen, and more people will feel comfortable talking about their symptoms. And the sooner they can be diagnosed, the sooner they can seek some relief in treatment. 

If you think you might have Interstitial Cystitis, talk to your doctor. They're here to help. Your prescribing healthcare professional will be able to talk over some of your options and get you back to living life as normally as possible again. 

Know that you are not at all alone, and there are resources available to you for learning and connecting with a vast network of others who are dealing with symptoms like yours. In the meantime, thanks to raising awareness about this condition, research for a cure and better treatment options continues, and there are some clinical trials underway which will be testing possible new treatments for IC. There is hope ahead!

If you have begun to use intermittent catheters as a related aid to your condition, 180 Medical is here to offer you quality catheter supplies and a listening ear. We have a wide selection from all of the top catheter manufacturers. Contact one of our highly-trained specialists today, and we’ll be glad to help you get set up on the right catheter for your individual needs.


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trish
About the Author: 

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