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The History of Catheters

by Jessica March 2 2015 13:05
history of catheters blog header


You might think catheters are a relatively new invention. While it’s true that catheter technology is constantly advancing, the idea of a tube to drain the bladder has been around for centuries now.

In fact, it’s been documented that catheters were used around 3,000 BC. Of course, back in those days, they didn’t have the technology to be able to manufacture catheters in flexible, sterile materials, so they had to use what was available to them. Ancient Syrians used hollow vegetation such as reeds to relieve built-up urine in the bladder.

Later on, catheters were made in brass, copper, gold, lead, and silver. Silver is still used in certain medical fields due to its antiseptic functions. Benjamin Franklin, the famous inventor as well as one of the forefathers of the United States, had a hand in the creation of a silver catheter, which was originally was for use by his brother, John. He wanted to make the process of catheterization less painful for John, and so he worked with a local smithy on a new design for a more flexible catheter of silver.

New materials continued to be discovered and used, as the quest to find a more comfortable gentlecath red rubber catheterand flexible catheter went on. The first catheters made of rubber were developed in the 1700s was more flexible, certainly, but natural rubber weakens easily when warm and becomes brittle when cold. Rubber catheters during this period of time would sometimes disintegrate or weaken at body temperature, leaving debris behind in the urethra and bladder. In the 1800s, Charles Goodyear formulated the concept of vulcanization of rubber, which was later patented in 1844 by Thomas Hancock. This advent, which improved the overall quality of rubber, revolutionized its production, and soon the majority of catheters were made of vulcanized rubber, and later in the 20th century, latex rubber became the most popular material of choice.

Overall, catheterization was a safe procedure, but there were still cases of infections. After World War II, there were many disabled veterans, many of whom had spinal cord injuries and other ailments that required them to use catheters after the war. Infections were the last thing they needed to deal with on top of their other ailments. This is when the concept of sterile catheterization was introduced by Ludwig Guttman, a British neurologist at the time who is now considered to be one of the founding fathers of organized physical activities for people with disabilities (including the Paralympic Games in England). It was noted that this practice helped to reduce the occurrence of infections.

In time, other materials began to be utilized as technology continued to advance, including PVC (poly-vinyl-chloride) and silicone. Today, advancements in catheter technology are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were even 20 years ago. Intermittent catheters exist in many materials, sizes, brands, and types – including hydrophilic catheters, pre-lubricated, closed systems, pediatric sizes, catheters in lengths for both men and women, and more.

180 Medical has been around for over twelve years now, and we certainly know our specialty well. Contact us today to find the right catheter for your needs, so you can experience the 180 Medical difference.
catheter showcase 180 medical

Other References: 

Carr, H. A. (2000). "A short history of the Foley catheter: from handmade instrument to infection-prevention device." 
Lapides, J., A. C. Diokno, A.C., et al. (1972). "Clean, intermittent self-catheterization in the treatment of urinary tract disease." J Urology 107(3): 458-461. 
J Endourol 7(2): 89-92. Mattelaer, J. J. and I. Billiet. (1995). "Catheters and sounds: the history of bladder catheterisation."
Paraplegia 33(8): 429-433.  Nacey, J. and B. Delahunt. (1993). "The evolution and development of the urinary catheter." Aust N Z J Surg 63(10): 815-819.



About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for over 5 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company! She loves writing, music, art, and & spending time with her dogs, friends & family.

My Personal Experience with Interstitial Cystitis

by admin January 15 2015 15:05
living with interstitial cystitis blog header


My name is Trish, and I have worked for 180 Medical for 4 years. I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction within the last year. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what this is, Interstitial Cystitis is a chronic painful condition of the bladder.

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

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

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

Common symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis

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

Personal Tips for IC

Here are some tips that help me, personally, during an IC flare-up:

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

If you are experiencing symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis, just know you are not alone in your personal journey.



trish

About the Author: 

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



  

September is Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Month

by Jessica September 15 2014 12:42
We here at 180 Medical want to do our part in raising awareness this month about a painful condition called Interstitial Cystitis.

According to the Interstitial Cystitis Network, as many as one out of every 26 people in the USA right now may be living with symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis. But what is Interstitial Cystitis? And why is it important that we all do our part in raising awareness about this condition?

interstitial cystitis awareness month 180 medical

Interstitial Cystitis and Its Symptoms

Also known as Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS), Interstitial Cystitis is a feeling that ranges from minor discomfort to great pain or pressure around the pelvic area, most specifically the bladder.

Symptoms can include:

  • Bladder pain or pain throughout the pelvis or genitals
  • Urgency to rush to the restroom to relieve yourself
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Urinary frequency
  • Nocturia
  • Pain during intimacy

It can happen to anyone, but it seems to be more prevalent in women. Many who are affected by the symptoms aren't even aware that they have it. This is why it's important to spread awareness, so that those who are affected can seek treatment.

While there is no cure currently, there are a variety of treatments available that can help lessen the symptoms and make it much more manageable. If you have difficulty urinating, for instance, it may be as simple as starting a self-catheterization regimen. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor today.


What Can I Do To Raise Awareness About Interstitial Cystitis?

  • It's easy to feel like you don't have the power to raise much awareness. But if you use any form of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or more), you have a great tool in your hands to share information and spread awareness. You can start out just by sharing a link to the IC Awareness Month official website at http://www.icawareness.org or sharing a link to this blog post from 180 Medical.
  • Hand out flyers or hang a poster at your school, job, or local church.
  • Talk to your doctor about putting up a poster or keeping brochures about Interstitial Cystitis available for patients and visitors to the office.
  • Spread awareness by wearing your turquoise IC Awareness Ribbon or displaying it as a car magnet. Find yours at the ICN shop here.


Interstitial Cystitis Resources

Remember, if you are living with Interstitial Cystitis, you're not the only one. There are resources available to you for learning and connecting with a vast network of others who are dealing with symptoms like yours.




180 medical jessAbout the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 5 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company.

4 Helpful Smartphone Apps for Catheter and Wheelchair Users

by Jessica July 23 2014 14:04
helpful smartphone apps for catheter-users and wheelchair-users

Just about everyone has a smartphone these days. Technology has risen to meet our many needs, even those we didn’t know we had. There are games, music programs, helpful tools, financial planners, and many apps specifically geared towards health, such as WebMD. But did you know there are some apps that for your phone could specifically help you out with your self-catheterization regimen? As the slogan goes, “there’s an app for that,” so check out our short list of applications in iTunes that may be a good addition to your smartphone today!    


UroBladderDiary

$1.99 in iTunes
urobladder diary appDuring your appointments, your treating physician may have recommended that you keep a record of how much liquid you’re drinking per day and/or how much and how often you are voiding your bladder. It may not sound like much fun to keep writing this information down in a big notebook or journal, but with this app, you can just type in each entry. Does the doctor want to see the record? This app easily converts the text you’ve input into a PDF file which can be emailed over to your physician’s office and included in your electronic medical records. No paper waste necessary, and it keeps your voiding diary completely private.  

urobladder diary screenshot
 

Wheelmate™

wheelmate coloplast smartphone appFree in iTunes
Are you a wheelchair user on the go? This app is specifically designed to find clean wheelchair-accessible bathrooms and parking spaces for those in wheelchairs. Currently, this app has more than 30,000 locations spread over 45 countries, and more are added and verified by wheelchair users to make sure the information is correct. This is especially helpful for those on the go. Maybe you have a vacation you'd like to plan in advance, or you're traveling for your job and want to make sure you'll have parking and bathroom access.


wheelmate app screenshot

CathNow

Free in iTunes
coloplast cathnow appLike most catheter users, you probably have a set schedule of when you are supposed to self-cath, according to your health care provider's prescribed regimen. But sometimes time can get away from us when our day is busy, and of course, we all have forgetful days! There's whose days are busy or even just for those of us who are a little forgetful, there’s an app by Coloplast created to remind you to it’s time to cath with alarms for your smart phone.

coloplast cathnow smartphone app screenshot

LoFric Micturition Chart App

Free on iTunes and Google Play
Like UroBladder Diary, this chart allows you to input the liquids lofric micturition chart smartphone appyou are drinking throughout the day and the amount of urine you are voiding from your bladder. However, this version is specifically to record this information over 2 or 3 days. Once completed, you can bring the chart to your next appointment or email it. Again, this app is helpful for less paper waste along with more privacy, because you don’t have to carry around a paper chart or notebook with you.

lofric micturition chart app screenshot

One or all of these smartphone apps may offer some practical support to you even on a daily basis as a catheter or wheelchair user. Whether you need help finding clean, wheelchair-accessible bathrooms, staying on time with your prescribed self-cathing regimen, or measuring your urine output or more, it can all be at the mere touch of  a button on your personal smartphone.



180 medical jessAbout the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 5 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company! She loves writing, art, music, and spending time with friends and family.

UTI Facts: Preventative Care and Management

by Catheter Experts March 25 2014 08:52
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are incredibly common and result in millions of visits to doctor's offices every year. At 180 Medical, many of us not only have first-hand experience with urinary tract infection; we also frequently talked to customers who have trouble with recurrent UTIs.

One of our goals at 180 Medical is to provide you with the information you need to succeed in turning your health and life around, so we’ve prepared this educational infographic, which should give you a bit more information about Urinary Tract Infections, what they are exactly, what symptoms are, and some basic prevention and care tips.


If you are currently experiencing what you believe to be a Urinary Tract Infection, contact your healthcare professional to schedule an appointment as soon as possible so that they can treat you appropriately.

If you currently use catheters and are experiencing recurrent UTIs, please give one of our trained specialists a call at 1-877-688-2729, and they can discuss your options for products which may help to reduce the risk of recurrence of UTIs.
  

8 Frequently Asked Questions About Catheters

by Catheter Experts March 10 2014 13:41
Urinary incontinence is unfortunately a common issue among many today. There are several men, women and children who are affected by it and their physical and social well-being are often impacted. Fortunately, with self-catheterization, you can safely and effectively control your bladder and reduce the likelihood of bladder and kidney infections.

To help you better understand catheters, we've examined the eight most frequently asked questions about catheters, along with answers.

1. What is a catheter?

A catheter is a small rubber or plastic tube that is placed in your bladder to drain your urine. Catheters are available in a number of different sizes, styles and materials. You will need to do some experimenting to determine which kind works best.

2. How does it work?

Self-catheterization only takes a few minutes and is rather easy. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, and you may use clean disposal gloves if you prefer. Lubricate the tube with a water-soluble lubricant and carefully insert it into the urethra. Once the tube reaches the bladder, the urine should begin flowing through the catheter naturally. When it stops flowing, slowly remove the catheter. If it's your first time, you may want to ask your doctor to show you how to use it. After some practice, it will get easier.

3. Why do I need one?

A catheter is necessary if your bladder cannot hold all of your urine or you cannot empty your bladder completely. The catheter helps to drain and empty your bladder.

4. How long does it take to empty my bladder with a catheter?

This will ultimately depend on the diameter of the catheter and how much urine you need to release. Typically, a few seconds to a minute is the average time.

5. How will I know if it has entered my bladder?

Typically, once the catheter has entered your bladder, urine should begin to flow out of the catheter, which will continue until your bladder is fully empty.

6. When can I remove it?

You can remove the catheter once the flow of urine has stopped.

7. How often can I use a catheter?

Usually catheters are used infrequently, but it is OK to use them more regularly. This will depend upon your individual health needs. You may want to speak to your doctor if you're unsure.

8. Are there complications involved in using a catheter?

You may feel a slight burning sensation after removing the catheter, but this will pass with time and use. The more practice you have in using a catheter, the more comfortable it will become. There may also be an increased risk of Urinary Tract Infections, as well. If you encounter any symptoms of a UTI such as consistent burning in the urethra, feeling an urge to urinate more frequently than usual, fever, or cloudy urine, consult your doctor. You can reduce the risk of UTIs by using your catheter one time only.


Please note that this is intended to provide a general understanding of urinary catheters. It should not be used in place of a visit, call, or consultation with a physician or other health care provider. Please let us know if you have any questions, we'd be happy to help.
   
 

Knowing Your Bladder: Incontinence

by Catheter Experts February 17 2014 14:11
Know Your Bladder: Incontinence
  

National Bladder Health Week

by Jessica November 11 2013 15:29
November 11, 2013, marks the start of National Bladder Health Week, which was created by the National Association for Continence (NAFC) and the American Foundation for Urology Disease (AFUD) to raise awareness about various bladder issues that affect millions across the nation and to encourage individuals to talk to their friends and health care professionals and their bladder health.

NAFC will also be hosting a Twitter chat with a registered nurse and a webinar on male stress urinary incontinence on Tuesday, November 12th. If interested, click here for more info on the 1 PM (EST) webinar or here for the 8 PM (EST) webinar.

Please see the below infographic provided by NAFC for some interesting facts about bladder health. Feel free to share this to spread the word and increase awareness!

bladder health week

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 4 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such fun, caring company.

Traveling by Air with Urinary Catheters

by billf April 16 2013 11:07

traveling by air with urinary catheters

Traveling with urinary catheters can be a bit intimidating, especially for people who are new to cathing. 180 Medical likes to keep our patients well informed, and up to speed with the latest urological research, news, and tips.

I spoke with Bill, who works for 180 Medical, for some tips on cathing while traveling. He was kind enough to give some very helpful tips. Bill was injured in a motocross accident over 23 years ago and has real world experience traveling as a quadriplegic.

bill f 180 medical employeeContact the Airline

One of the first things to do is to contact the airline you will be traveling with and inquire if the airline has any special procedures for traveling with catheters. The airline should advise of procedures you should follow. Ask if the equipment you bring on board meets Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines and follow some basic hygiene steps during the flight.

I have never had a problem with the airlines questioning why I am carrying the catheters and supplies, but if you are concerned you can always contact the airline you are traveling with and let them know.

Carry-on Bag Regulations

TSA has established air travel laws and regulations pertaining to liquids. For carry-on bags, you must place all liquids of 3.4 oz or less must fit on one quart-sized, clear, plastic zipper-lock bag. If your catheters have a water packet, they would need to be placed in the clear bag. Since medications are an exception to the rule, the catheters with water packets might be okay, with doctor documentation, but check with the airline to make sure. If you have lubricant, make sure it is 3.4oz or less, and it would also need to go in a clear plastic bag. For those who use lubricant with their catheters, the airline should be okay with it as it is required to catheterize.  You should not be limited on how much you can take, but keep it with your catheters so it will be more apparent what it is used for.  I have not had a problem with leakage but it might not be a bad idea to put the lubricant into a plastic bag. 

Pack the majority of your supplies in your check in luggage, but take enough on your carry on bag to last you until you get to your destination plus a few extra. One other option would be to ship your supplies to your destination. This way you don't have to worry about carrying around the extra load in your luggage.

Bring Extra Catheters

Count the number of catheters you will need for your trip.  It is a good idea to take enough extra catheters to last an extra day or two in case of unforeseen circumstances. This also includes lubricant and other supplies you use to catheterize.

Closed System Catheters

traveling by air with cathetersMany people prefer to use a more advanced catheter while traveling to try and reduce the chance of getting an infection. These catheters do not require lubricant and some are designed to where you don’t even touch the catheter which are called closed system catheters. Some people whose insurance will not cover them often purchase them just for traveling.

Antibacterial Wipes

If you will be catheterizing in the public restrooms it’s a good idea to carry some antibacterial hand wipes, such as wet ones, to wipe off your hands and urethra before catheterizing.

Restroom on Plane

If you are unable to use the restroom on the plane and your flight lasts longer than you can wait to catheterize there are a couple of options you can take.  One option is to use a Foley catheter while traveling. By doing this, you would only need to empty your leg bag if it fills to capacity before you reach your destination.  If it did fill up before landing you could always ask a stewardess for something to empty it into if necessary.  Some people will put a blanket over them and will catheterize in their seat.  


Visit the Transportation Security Administration website for more information and travel tips for carry-ons: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips

Editor's Additional Resources:
Delta's travel information for those with disabilities or wheelchair users
Card Issued for Air Travelers with Disabilities

10 ways to carry catheters discreetly
10 Ways to Carry
Catheters Discreetly 
traveling with catheters
 Traveling With
Catheters



About the Authors:

Bill has worked for 180 Medical for almost ten years in various positions within the company. He works at the 180 Medical corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City, OK. He often speaks to customers about adjusting to life after a spinal cord injury. Read more about Bill here.
   
             


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

The Benefits of Catheter Use for MS Patients

by Catheter Experts April 10 2013 08:29
benefits of using catheters for MS

How many people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) do you think use catheters?

The Center of Disease Control estimates that there are 400,000 people in the US living with MS, and more than 100,000 of them rely on catheters. According to a study done by doctors at the University Hospital's Case Medical Center in Cleveland, more than a quarter of patients with MS have either previously used or currently use catheters.

Intermittent straight catheter usage can make a world of difference for many people who have MS and experience bladder dysfunction. 


male and female length catheter illustration


Multiple Sclerosis & Its Effect on the Bladder

bladder dysfunction in those living with MSAlmost 80% of people with MS also experience urinary problems. Lesions created by this condition can either block or delay the transmissions of nerve signals in the areas of the central nervous system that control the urinary sphincter and bladder.

There are two distinct types of bladder problems that affect MS patients:
These issues can not only be sources of embarrassment and discomfort, but incomplete bladder drainage can make those living with MS more prone to recurring urinary tract infections. 


Intermittent Catheterization & Multiple Sclerosis

Catheterization has an array of medical benefits and can significantly improve overall quality of life.

Intermittent catheters prevent the bladder from overfilling, eliminate residual urine, and help prevent urinary infections from urine that might otherwise remain too long inside the bladder.

Some people are reluctant to use catheters because they worry about discomfort. However, we want to assure you that modern disposable catheters have come a long way since their invention.

Today, catheters are made from a variety of materials, many of which are designed to be soft, pliant, and comfortable for the user.

how to cath dvd and bookletsConcerned about your privacy? Many catheters are small and easily concealable. There are even pocket catheters that are discreet and can easily fit in a small bag, makeup case, or even a pocket.

Intermittent catheter usage paired with any necessary supplements or prescription medication along with regular doctor check-ups can do a lot to improve your urinary health as well as your overall well-being.

If you'd like to learn more about bladder management for those living with Multiple Sclerosis, visit the National MS Society's website for helpful information and tips on maintaining good urinary health.

Are you seeking a reliable catheter supply provider? 180 Medical will be glad to help you find the right product for your needs, and our specialists will treat your concerns and questions with kindness. 

We can also include some helpful information in your first order, like our unique how-to-cath instructions in full color booklets with all the information you need to know about intermittent catheter usage, as well as DVDs that can walk you through the process step-by-step on how to use straight catheters, hydrophilic catheters, and closed system catheter kits.

Give us a call today at 1-877-688-2729!


180 medical customer testimonial multiple sclerosis