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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.

Find a Therapist through Psychology Today
Just enter your city or zip code, and you will be provided with a list of local mental health professionals and counselors to whom you can reach out. This site also has options to list local support groups and treatment centers. 

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.

Bladder Cancer Symptoms and Risk Factors

by Jessica May 15 2017 11:42
bladder cancer

May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, and during this time, we believe that it's important to raise awareness about this disease, its potential risk factors, and its symptoms so you can be informed to be able to make the best decisions for your health.

How Do Irritants Increase the Risk of Bladder Cancer?

Bladder irritation may potentially increase the risk of bladder cancer, which could be caused by various issues such as bladder stones, frequent UTIs (urinary tract infections), smoking cigarettes, and even the use of indwelling catheters. In addition to that, you could be more likely to suffer from bladder cancer if you're older or a male.

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer in Men and Women

bladder cancer factsSince those who use catheters and have spinal cord injuries may be more susceptible to bladder cancer, it's important to know and be able to identify the symptoms of bladder cancer. Symptoms can range in severity and type based on the stage of cancer and whether or not the cancer has spread. However, here are five common symptoms of bladder cancer to be aware of:

  • Blood in urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Back pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Painful urination

If you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to make your urologist or other healthcare provider aware, although these could be caused by a variety of different conditions. This is why it's so important to have consistent, open communication with your healthcare provider and to make sure they know about any new symptoms you experience so you can be properly evaluated.

In addition to that, remember to use your intermittent catheters in accordance with the sterile guidelines to reduce your risk of infection and follow your doctor's instructions on how and when to cath. 

After Bladder Cancer

If caught early, bladder cancer can be treatable and, depending on the stage, can be survived. Some with bladder cancer may have their bladders removed as part of their treatment to make sure the cancer does not spread farther, but there are options available to keep you independent and healthy, such as urostomy surgery or catheterizing with a neobladder.

If you're seeking a reliable catheter or ostomy supply provider, 180 Medical offers intermittent catheters along with urostomy pouches, wafers, barriers, adhesive removers, belts, and plenty of other high-quality accessories. Feel free to contact our friendly, trained Product Specialists, who will be glad to work with you to find the right supplies for your needs. 


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top 5 tips for bladder health
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The Importance of Seeing a Urologist

by billf March 22 2017 07:12
the importance of seeing a urologist

 My name is Bill, and I have worked for 180 Medical for over 10 years. bill f 180 medicalAbout 26 years ago, I was involved in a motocross accident that rendered me quadriplegic. You can learn more about my story here. Over the years since then, I've been able to use my experiences to help and counsel others who are also dealing with life after a spinal cord injury. I am happiest when I am helping others, and these days at 180 Medical, I spend a lot of time talking to our customers on the phone who are new to self-catheterizing.

There are a lot of people who use intermittent catheters and mainly rely on their general practitioner for their checkups and healthcare needs. While this is perfectly fine, it may be a good idea to see a urologist annually for a more thorough checkup. Since urologists specialize in conditions relating to the entire urinary system as well as the male reproductive organs, they may be able to better pinpoint issues that your general practitioner might not catch.

What to Expect at an Annual Exam with a Urologist

Seeing a urologist may seem intimidating at first, but generally, an annual exam is fairly simple and could be potentially life-saving, depending on what symptoms you may be experiencing. There are various procedures that your urologist may use to check for any abnormalities or potential issues, including growths, infections, or stones.

Some tests or examinations that you may be able to expect, depending upon what the doctor thinks is necessary for your individual situation, may include:

  • A physical exam
  • A urine specimen
  • A cystoscopy (where the lower urinary tract is examined with a mini camera) 
  • Imaging studies (ultrasound or x-ray, most typically) 
  • Urodynamics
  • A tissue biopsy

Bladder Cancer and Other Factors to Consider

An annual exam is a wise idea for anyone using catheter supplies, but it's also important to see your doctor if there are any unusual or out-of-the-ordinary symptoms as soon as possible. Waiting on treating something as small as urinary tract infection may lead to the condition becoming a more serious issue.

Bladder irritation may increase the risk of bladder cancer, and this can be from various issues such as repeated UTIs (urinary tract infections) or bladder infections, use of a foley catheter, and bladder stones. There are higher rates of bladder cancer among tobacco users, so if you smoke or vape, this is also a great reason to get a regular check-up.

Additionally, if you are living with a neurogenic bladder or a SCI (spinal cord injury), you may want to consider the importance of checking for bladder cancer regularly too. The risk for this disease for those with SCIs is about "15 times higher than that of the general population" (New Mobility).

Since bladder cancer does not always have obvious symptoms, especially in the beginning stages, it's incredibly important to have a specialist like a urologist look over your bladder and urinary system in its entirety regularly so that any potential issues can be caught early.

Year-Round Maintenance of Your Urinary System's Health

As always, the best thing you can do for your bladder, kidneys, and the rest of your urinary system is to follow your healthcare professional's recommendations.

This may include such advice as:

  • Take any medications you have been prescribed as directed
  • Keep properly hydrated according to your individual needs
  • Continue regular check-ups with your urologist, especially in the case of any unusual or out-of-the-ordinary symptoms
  • Always use good hygiene when using intermittent catheters, such as practicing sterile use versus washing and reusing, washing your hands well, and using disinfecting wipes or swabs
  • Catheterize according to the schedule laid out by your doctor, which is typically going to be often enough to keep the urine volume inside your bladder under 10 ounces
  • Use adequate sterile, water-soluble lubrication when cathing to avoid make catheterization more comfortable
  • Consider using a hydrophilic catheter to further reduce irritation to the urethra and bladder, or a catheter with a gripper or sleeve to avoid touching the catheter directly, which can reduce the risk of infection

At 180 Medical, we not only provide top-quality intermittent catheter supplies; we also offer helpful, educational material whenever possible to make sure you have all the information you need, including instructions on how to self-cath. For more information about catheters that could be right for your needs, feel free to contact us. If you have any questions or seek medical advice, please be sure to consult with your healthcare professional. 

Disclaimer: Please note that this is intended to provide a general understanding of bladder health and the importance of seeing a doctor. It should not be used in place of a visit, call, or consultation with a physician or other professional healthcare provider.

References: 
'Surprising Link': Smoking and Bladder Cancer
What You Need to Know About Bladder Cancer and SCI

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bill bio pic 180 medical employee
Bill has worked for 180 Medical for over 10 years. He loves getting to talk to our customers, sharing his first-hand experiences as a quadriplegic, and helping those with in-depth questions about self-catheterization. He enjoys spending time outdoors, as well as watching and attending motocross events. Learn more about Bill's story.

Tips for Managing Urinary Incontinence in the Winter

by Jessica February 23 2017 09:40

Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. There are a number of causes, ranging from getting older, childbirth, accidents, nerve damage, and other interrelated conditions. The severity of urinary incontinence ranges as well. An individual may leak urine occasionally or during physical activity only, or there may be no warning at all before a sudden and intense urge to urinate. 

If you are currently living with incontinence, you are certainly not the only one. In fact, it's quite common; people just don't talk as openly or comfortably about it as other conditions. According to the Urinary Care Foundation, a quarter to a third of men and women in the United States has some form of urinary incontinence. When medication or other treatment methods such as surgery are not enough, intermittent catheters may be prescribed to help manage the incontinence. 

older couple in winter As we are now in the winter season, it's important to prepare yourself for the symptoms of urinary incontinence to maintain your day-to-day life.

Here are several things to keep in mind:


Stay Hydrated: It might seem counter-intuitive to drink more liquids to manage urinary incontinence, but hydration is important for managing the urinary system as well as maintaining the health of your entire body. Dehydration can cause thickening of the urine, which may irritate the bladder. You lose water every time you breathe, especially in the cold, dry weather in winter. Even though you may not feel dehydrated, monitor your fluid intake just to be on the safe side. 

Avoid Diuretics: Pay attention to the types of fluid you drink. In winter, you may be more likely to drink tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, which all contain levels of caffeine. Caffeine is a known diuretic, which can irritate the bladder and worsen the symptoms of incontinence.

Empty Your Bladder Before Leaving the House: Symptoms of urinary incontinence often come without warning. Before you leave the house on a day when you know you are going to be gone for a while, use the restroom beforehand to ensure your bladder is empty. This is especially important in winter when extreme weather occurrences are more likely, which may create traffic delays and other issues which might keep you away from a bathroom. 

If you use intermittent catheters to manage urinary incontinence, we have a wide variety of catheters to choose from. Contact us today to learn more about our products, services, and more. 

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Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Bladder Healthy

by Jessica November 30 2016 10:55

November is National Bladder Health Month, and we are glad that an entire month is dedicated to the importance of the bladder. It's an organ that often goes unrecognized in its impact on your body's health until it stops working the way it should, but it's a crucial part of your urinary system as well as your overall well-being. Even your emotions can be impacted when you experience adverse symptoms that come with a condition such as an overactive bladder (OAB), bladder cancer, Interstitial Cystitis (also known as Bladder Pain Syndrome), incontinence (loss of bladder control) or urinary retention (an inability to empty the bladder completely), to name a few more common issues. 

Literally millions of people are affected by these conditions, particularly incontinence (which is estimated to affect anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 of all men and women in the United States), so it's important to bring awareness about bladder health, bladder conditions, and how common they are, as a first step of getting rid of the stigma associated with these issues. 

Top 5 Tips for Bladder Health

We here at 180 Medical are committed to making sure you have the information you need to stay as healthy as possible, so here are some tips for your bladder's health.

1. Watch what you drink. 
Drinking the right amount of water for your individual needs (typically between six to eight 8 oz. glasses) is, of course, crucial for your body's overall health. The proper amount of fluid assists your entire urinary system in doing its job to flush waste from your body. But did you know that both caffeine (usually consumed in the form of coffee, certain sodas, or tea) and alcohol are both bladder irritants? Caffeine also acts as a diuretic, which can overstimulate the bladder and reduces your body's fluid. These are both things you'll want to avoid, particularly if you are dealing with symptoms of incontinence or overactive bladder. 

2. Quit smoking.
Did you know that smoking tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, etc.) actually increases the risk of bladder cancer? If you smoke, you are actually 2 to 3 times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers. The chemicals in tobacco are filtered through your lungs, out of your blood, and finally into the urinary system as waste, and eventually, these chemicals can affect the lining of the bladder, which increases the chance of cancer developing over time. Among the other many reasons to quit smoking, this is certainly an important one to consider.  

3. Lose excess weight.
If you are overweight, working to lose weight can also help reduce symptoms of stress urinary incontinence. When extra weight presses down on the bladder and the supporting muscles, it makes it harder for your body to hold on to the fluid inside the bladder, which can cause leakage, especially when you laugh, cough, sneeze. Daily exercise and eating right can help you get closer to your fitness goals as well as improve your bladder's health.

talk to your doctor 4. Do your daily Kegels.
Just like lifting weights strengthens and tones your muscles, Kegel exercises are important for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder and the urethra, which can have a very positive effect and lessens symptoms of incontinence. Learn more about how to perform Kegels here.

5.  Talk to your doctor. 
If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms, such as urine leakage, an inability to void your bladder, or any pain/discomfort in the pelvic region or when urinating, be sure to schedule an appointment to see a healthcare professional that can best diagnose what's going on as well as determine a proper treatment plan. Many avoid going to see a urologist or their general practitioner about their "bathroom troubles," because it can feel embarrassing, but as said, many people experience these issues too, and doctors are there to get you well again. 

If you need to use intermittent catheters as part of your doctor's treatment plan, we're happy to help you find the best catheter for your needs. Contact us today to speak with one of our trained, friendly specialists.


About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 7 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company.