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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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3 Types of Female Catheters

by Jessica February 6 2018 06:25
3 female catheter types

If your doctor has recommended intermittent catheterization as part of your treatment plan (whether due to bladder retention, urinary incontinence, multiple sclerosis, a spinal cord injury, or another medical condition that affects the way your bladder works), you may be feeling overwhelmed by the news and wondering where to start.

We completely understand, and we want to assure you that those feelings are perfectly normal. However, once armed with the right information and the right supplies for you, using female catheters can eventually become second nature to you. 

But first, you may want to learn more about the three main types of female intermittent catheters, so here's our simple guide!

Types of Female Intermittent Catheters

Intermittent catheters are small tubes designed to drain urine from the bladder. These are most often composed of vinyl or PVC, silicone, or red rubber latex, and they are considered single-use only devices, since they are inserted into the body via the urethra. Catheters have come a long way since they were first invented, and innovations in technology continue to roll out with new products that may offer a smoother catheterization experience as well as better discretion and ease of use.

woman with backpack Because the female urethra is only a few inches in length compared to the male urethra, female catheters are typically only 6 to 8 inches long, although there are shorter pocket-sized options. Some women prefer to use male length catheters, and this is based on preference and what works best for you.

Concerned about the catheter tube's diameter? That's a common fear, but there's no need to worry. Your prescribing physician will be able to test French sizes with you and properly determine with you what will work best for your individual anatomy and needs.

The right size will help with overall comfort as well as efficiency in drainage. For example, if you use a smaller female catheter French size than what fits your body best, you may notice urine seeping around the sides of the catheter (rather than only draining into the tube and down to your chosen receptacle, like a collection bag or toilet), which can literally leave a mess on your hands. If you use a larger catheter French size than necessary, you may have some difficulty with insertion, or you could experience some discomfort. Making sure to get the right size prescribed before ordering will be a big component in finding the right catheter for you!

After you and your doctor have discussed size options, you'll want to start thinking about the three main intermittent catheter types available for women. 

what female catheter is right for me


The three main types of intermittent catheters are:


Straight Catheters

Considered the original technology, female length straight intermittent catheters are uncoated and must be manually lubricated prior to insertion. Usually, this is done with individual packets of sterile lubricant, although some prefer using the flip-top tubes of lubricant. These can easily be included with your catheter order, and we can take into account what may be easiest for you to use, including factors like limited hand dexterity.

These are available in just about every material, and there are options both with and without color-coded funnels. This typically comes down to personal preference, but you will need to let your supplier know of any potential allergies, such as latex, as well as any chemicals you may want to avoid like DEHP. Sometimes also known as "in and out" catheters, intermittent catheter tubes are uncoated, so they must be manually lubricated before insertion, typically by individual-use packets of sterile lubrication which can be included in your orders.

Straight female catheters are typically fairly easy to conceal in one's pocket, makeup bag, or purse, and one benefit is that these may feel a little lighter than catheters that include additional insertion supplies or water packets, making them simple to carry or pack in one's luggage for traveling.

female straight uncoated catheters



Hydrophilic Catheters

Hydrophilic catheters are similar to straight catheters in many ways, but there's one key feature that makes hydrophilic catheters stand apart from other types. Female hydrophilic catheters have a coating that is activated by water to become slippery, smooth, and ready to use. This coating acts in place of lubricant, so you don't have to worry about carrying along a tube or packets of lubricant with you.

Depending on the brand, some hydrophilic catheters come with their own sterile water packet to burst inside the packaging and let the catheter soak anywhere from a few seconds to half a minute, and then it's ready to use. Others, like the SpeediCath Compact, is pre-packaged in its own sterile saline solution, so as soon as you open up this discreet package (designed to look similar to a makeup item like a tube of mascara or lipstick), your catheter is ready to use and then dispose of easily without muss or fuss once you've drained your bladder.

Most hydrophilic catheter manufacturers feature a handy guiding sleeve to allow you to manipulate the catheter for insertion without touching the tube itself and risking potential contamination from any possible germs left on your hands, even after washing up before use.

female hydrophilic catheters



Closed System Catheters

Female closed system catheters are a convenient option since it's basically an all-in-one system. The catheter itself is pre-lubricated and sterile inside its self-contained collection bag, which eliminates the need to carry additional lubricant, and many brands also have insertion supplies packaged with it as well, such as sterile gloves, an underpad, and antiseptic wipes. Most closed systems also have a pre-lubricated introducer tip that helps to bypass the majority of bacteria in the first few millimeters of the urethra, which further minimizes the risk of infection.

Some people in wheelchairs prefer closed system catheters, since they can sometimes eliminate the need to transfer from your chair to a toilet. Thanks to the self-contained collection bag, you can self-cath anyplace where you have privacy. 

There are options such as gripping aids for those with limited hand dexterity, as well as different materials of catheters, different collection bag sizes, and more. Our Catheter Product Specialists can discuss the different features that may appeal to you or work best for your needs.

female closed system catheters



Since we specialize in catheters as well as ostomy supplies, we carry all the major catheter brands and types, so you have the option to sample what might work best for you, and you have the freedom of choice to pick the brand you prefer.

male intermittent catheter brands


Ultimately, the decision about which type of catheter you should use will come down to your prescribing healthcare professional's assessment of your condition and personal needs. 

180 medical catheter specialist When you're ready to order, 180 Medical is here to serve you and your doctor in helping to select an intermittent catheter that will be easy for you to use while giving you a hygienic, comfortable, and convenient catheterization. 

We are catheter specialists that have been in the business for over fifteen years, and we've helped thousands of women, men, and children find the right catheter supplies. Our goal is to help turn your quality of life around with high-quality catheter products that can restore your confidence and sense of independence. Our catheter specialists will also offer you unparalleled service and a compassionate, listening ear. 

We also offer educational materials like full-color brochures and DVDs offering step-by-step instructions of how to self-cath.

Give us a call at 1-877-688-2729. We'd love the opportunity to discuss your female catheter options with you! 




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180 medical jessAbout 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 for its employees and customers.

 

180 Medical Product News: Actreen Mini Cath Catheter Set for Women

by Jessica January 16 2018 05:54
180 medical product news actreen mini cath catheter set

We like to keep you up to date on the latest catheter and ostomy products available on the market. If you're a woman who uses catheters, you may want to know more about the newest catheter option from B. Braun: the Actreen® Mini Cath Catheter Set just for females.


What to Know about the Actreen® Mini Cath Catheter Set

B. Braun understands that many female catheter-users prefer a product that's not only easy to use but offers privacy and discretion. That's exactly why they designed the Actreen® Mini Cath.

actreen mini cath set for women

Simple to open and insert, the Actreen® Mini Cath and the closed system Mini Cath Set are both made to fit discreetly in your pocket or makeup bag. With a low profile and 3.5 inch catheter length, the female Mini Cath is similar in size to a lipstick compact, and the catheter itself is coated with hydrophilic lubricant for a gentle catheterization process from insertion to withdrawal. 

An additional benefit of the Mini Cath is that its packaging features pre-cut notches and finger holes, which gives its user the ability to open the catheter package easily, even for those with limited dexterity.


Features of the Actreen® Mini Cath Catheter Set

  • 3.5 inch length for optimal discretion
  • Pre-lubricated, hydrophilic catheter with no need for water activation or additional lubrication
  • Hygienic, touch-free catheterization
  • Easy to open, easy to use (even for those with limited dexterity)
  • Not made with PVC, DEHP, or natural rubber latex
  • Lightweight and low-profile
  • Smooth eyelets
  • A discreet pouch in every box to carry your daily supply
  • Anti-reflux valve inside bag to avoid leakage
  • Currently available in 10, 12, and 14 French sizes.
  • Sterile and designed for single-use
 




How Do I Use the Actreen® Mini Cath Catheter Set?

We like to make sure you have access to all of the information you need to properly and hygienically self-catheterize. You can visit www.howtocath.com for step-by-step self-cathing instructions for women (as well as for men and children) for all catheter types including straight catheters, hydrophilic catheters, and closed systems.

Our trained Product Specialists can walk you through the process of catheterization and send you samples of the Mini Cath Catheter Set with your order. We also offer one-of-a-kind instructional materials that can be sent to you with your order as well, including printed color brochures and a DVD. 

Disclaimer: Please note that these instructions are intended to provide a general understanding of how to self-cath. This should not be used in place of your doctor's recommendations based on your personal anatomy and needs. For personalized instructions, please visit, call, or consult with your prescribing physician or other professional healthcare provider.


actreen mini cath sample


How Can I Find the Female Catheter That's Right For Me?

180 Medical carries an incredibly wide variety of intermittent catheters, including discreet pocket catheters that are perfect for travel and other female length catheters of all types from all of the major manufacturing brands on the market today. When you choose 180 Medical for your catheter supply needs, you can feel confident that you're getting the best product options available with unparalleled, friendly service.

180 medical catheter brands

Just contact us to speak to one of our trained, friendly specialists. We'll be glad to help you find the right urinary catheter that will best fit your individual preferences and needs, and we can also verify your insurance to determine if and how these products are covered on your policy. 



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About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 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.

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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of Self-Cathing 
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Tips for Holiday Travel When You Have Urinary Incontinence

by Jessica November 30 2017 05:43
tips for holiday traveling urinary incontinence

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Although Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel times of the year, millions of Americans will probably be on the road and up in the air from now until the end of the year to visit loved ones. 

While holidays can be joyous, we know they can also be quite stressful. However, for the more than 25 million Americans living with urinary incontinence, holiday travel can feel even more stressful.

If you have to travel by vehicle or plane, you might be intimidated by the prospect of bringing along your catheters or using them in public restrooms. You are certainly not alone in this concern. We even wrote about traveling by air with catheters a few years ago, which we encourage you to check out when you're done reading this post.

Our Top Tips for Holiday Travel

traveling by air with cathetersHere are a few of our top travel tips if you use incontinence products, catheters, and other urological or ostomy supplies:

  • If you plan to travel on an airplane, be sure to check with your airline to find out what can and cannot be carried on the plane. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) also has a comprehensive website that may help you with additional questions about what you can bring on board or pack in your checked luggage.
  • You might consider reserving an aisle seat on the airplane so that you can reach the bathroom quickly and without potentially disrupting other passengers when you need to get up and go.
  • If it's a long flight, you could also wear protective undergarments that can manage any leakage or odor for your peace of mind.
  • When traveling long distances by car, plan your trip using a GPS to determine where there are public bathrooms.
  • There are a number of useful smartphone apps for those who use catheters or are in wheelchairs, as well as apps that can help you find a public bathroom in a hurry, like SitOrSquatt and Where to Wee.

Other Helpful Information to Keep in Mind

Although the holidays are known as a time to indulge, you may want to consult with your doctor on what liquids or foods might cause you trouble. For example, both alcohol and caffeine are known bladder irritants, and they have diuretic properties, which may make you need to use the restroom more frequently. 

closed system catheter kits travelIf you are concerned about hygiene while using your catheters in public restrooms, you may want to consider using a closed system catheter kit, or pack additional supplies such as gloves and antiseptic wipes. 

Our friendly trained Product Specialists at 180 Medical will be glad to help you look into some of the best catheter kits for your needs and let you know if these supplies will be covered by your insurance. Contact us today!


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Pocket Catheters 101

by Jessica November 20 2017 09:05
pocket catheters 101 blog

Whether you've heard about them from your doctor, an online support group, or even television commercials, pocket catheters are one of the most talked about types of intermittent urinary catheters due to their convenience, ease of handling, and their ability to be carried discreetly. Learn all about pocket catheters and similar travel-ready options! 

What Is a Pocket Catheter?

cure pocket catheterA pocket catheter is a widely-used phrase that covers a few different styles of catheters for men, women, and children. The main and most important feature of a pocket catheter is that the packaging is small and discreet enough that is that it can be easily hidden inside a pocket, a purse, briefcase, backpack, or makeup bag, and depending on the brand, even in the palm of your hand as you walk to the restroom.  

Intermittent catheters are often packaged in a straight or longer parcel. Since the typical female length catheter is about 6 to 8 inches in length, they are already fairly easy to conceal. However, for pediatric length catheters, which are usually ten inches or longer, and male length catheters which are at least sixteen inches, users of these styles may want to find a more discreet or low-profile catheter.

catheter types and size comparisons to pocket catheter

What Options of Pocket Catheters Are Available?

Many versions of pocket catheters have all the familiar, high-quality features of the catheters you may already know and use, but depending upon the brand, there will be variations in their packaging, including size, shape, and what additional amenities may be included to aid a more hygienic catheterization, like insertion supplies.

180 medical catheter brand manufacturers
As always, 180 Medical will continue to keep you updated on the latest technology and new catheter products that become available on the market, but here are a few of the different options you may be interested in learning more about.

Pocket Catheters in Curved Packaging
cure pocket catheter xlCure Medical has a pocket version of its standard straight male-length catheter, the Cure U Pocket Catheter, where the entirety of the flexible catheter tube is curved to make the packet smaller, discreet, and more compact. Cure's catheters are made with high-quality material and will not kink when bent.

Cure also has a few other travel-ready options, such as a pocket catheter with lubricant included for your convenience and an extra-long pocket catheter (25 inches long), the Cure Pocket XL, which is great for those who often use extension tube connectors or are in wheelchairs. 

easycath pediatric pocket catheter for childrenThe Rusch EasyCath Pediatric Pocket Catheter is great if you're looking for a pocket catheter for your child. Once extended from the package, this high-quality PVC vinyl catheter is eleven inches for easy manipulation and it has polished eyelets to aid a smooth insertion. 

If your child is starting to self-cath on their own and needs a discreet catheter option to carry in their backpack or their pocket at school, a pocket catheter like this may be a good choice.

Compact Catheters

cure ultra female pocket catheterThe Cure Ultra is a new pocket-sized catheter for both women and men (female length pictured to the right), which features their exclusive CoverAll™ lubrication technology. This ensures an even, smooth distribution of the lubrication as the catheter is removed from its small, easy-to-open package. The design is environmentally friendly and simple to dispose of with minimal waste.

The Ultra is available in straight tip for both men and women, and there is also an option with a curved or coudé tip for those who have difficulty passing a straight tip, the Cure Ultra Coudé Male Catheter.

For women who want a discreet option with less mess and no fuss, they may find that the Cure Twist is the right choice for them. The Twist's packaging is designed to look similar to small cosmetics, like a mascara tube or lipstick. It has an easy-open twist top, and it's pre-lubricated, so as soon as you're ready, you can self-cath with no worries about mess or dripping.

speedicath compact female pocket catheterA similarly discreet item (pictured to the left) comes from Coloplast, a brand that has been around since 1957. Their mission is to develop products that make life easier on those who have medical needs, and the Coloplast SpeediCath Compact is certainly a product that fits that description due to its discreet packaging and ease of use. Available in options for both men and women, it is designed to look like an everyday item like a cosmetic product or a marker.

The female version is approximately 2.75 inches long, perfect for discreetly fitting into your pocket or packing in your suitcase for a vacation without worrying about too much additional bulk alongside your other toiletries and clothes. The SpeediCath Compact for Men is also ultra-discreet with a telescopic design that is less than half the size of a standard male catheter.

The CompactCath has a revolutionary design for ultimate privacy and ease of use. It looks unlike any other catheter on the market today. The flexible catheter is coiled inside a small plastic case that fits in the palm of your hand. Incredibly easy to pocket or carry, this catheter is also touch-free and is pre-lubricated with a silicone-based oil to aid in a super-smooth, comfortable insertion without need for additional lubricant.

compactcath pocket catheter for men and women

Pocket Closed System Catheters
Closed system catheters are a type of intermittent catheter with an all-in-one collection system. Often, they feature an introducer tip to bypass the highest concentrations of bacteria in the first few millimeters of the urethra, which may reduce the risk of infection. Closed system catheters have attached collection bags, which gives you the freedom to self-cath wherever you have privacy, making it an ideal choice for those in wheelchairs, children, and those who are frequent travelers. 

RUSCH POCKETPAC CATHETER KITThere are some discreet closed system catheter options that offer even more privacy when you carry them with you, such as the Hollister VaPro Pocket Plus, the Hollister Advance Plus Pocket Catheter System, and the Rusch PocketPac Catheter Kit, which includes insertion supplies to aid the catheterization experience (gauze, BZK antiseptic wipes, two vinyl gloves, underpad, and a refuse bag to dispose of the catheter when you're done).

Other Discreet Options
Many of the intermittent catheters we carry are of such high quality that you can roll it or curve the packaging inside your pocket without kinking the tube itself or damaging the catheter. Typically many of our pre-lubricated and hydrophilic catheter options are travel-ready and can be discreetly tucked away, like the GentleCath™ Glide, available for both men and women.

The Glide was designed based on actual feedback from real users of catheters, and it's a great option for people who want a discreet and efficient catheterization experience.

gentlecath glide travel hydrophilic catheter

Take a look at more great options in our catheter showcase today!

How Can I Find the Right Pocket Catheter for Me?

Just contact us to speak with one of our friendly Product Specialists. We'll be glad to help you find an intermittent catheter that may best fit your individual preferences, and we also verify your insurance for you to determine how and if these products are covered on your policy.

Disclaimer: Please note that this post is intended to provide a general understanding of a few of the product options available that are considered smaller, discreet, or pocket catheters. This information should not be used in place of the recommendations for what type of catheter your professional healthcare provider recommends or prescribes for you to use, based on your personal anatomy and individual needs and preferences. Please consult with your prescribing physician for more information on which type of pocket catheter or travel catheter might work best for you.


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About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 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.

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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180 Medical Product News: Cure Pediatric Hydrophilic Catheter

by Jessica September 25 2017 05:54
cure pediatric hydrophilic catheter

We love to keep you informed on the newest catheter and ostomy products on the market, so you can stay in the know about the latest technology and see when something might fit your needs. Take a look at some of the details on Cure Medical's new hydrophilic intermittent catheter made just for kids!

What Should I Know About the Cure Pediatric Hydrophilic Catheter?

Does your child have a condition that requires intermittent catheterization? Whether they are ready to self-cath on their own or if you or another parent or guardian is in charge of their catheterization regimen, it helps to have an intermittent catheter that simplifies your routine. 


Source: Cure Medical

The Cure Pediatric Hydrophilic Catheter has been specifically designed with kids and their parents/caregivers in mind. When there are a lot of other things in the world to worry about, the catheter your child uses should not be one of them. This pediatric catheter isn't made with any of the scary chemicals people often watch out for like DEHP, BPA, and/or natural rubber latex (particularly important if your child has a latex allergy).

This quality option offers the convenience of a hydrophilic catheter combined with the same great quality that you can expect from Cure Medical but with less mess! The water-activated hydrophilic coating keeps the catheter lubricated and the catheterization process stays virtually friction-free from start to finish.

An included textured gripper helps the user advance and control the catheter without having to touch the tube itself, which may help minimize the risk of infection, and the tube itself does not kink when it is bent. 

cure pediatric hydrophilic catheter features

How Do I Use the Cure Pediatric Hydrophilic Catheter?

These instructions were provided in part by Cure Medical. 

countdown how to cath step 1Wash hands and gather any accessories your child may need in addition to the hydrophilic catheter, such as disinfecting wipes or gloves. Position everything so that you're ready.



countdown how to cath step 2Prepare by using disinfecting wipes to clean the area of insertion, putting on gloves, or laying down a drape on your child's lap for additional protection. Get them in the position that works best for them based on their needs and their healthcare professional's recommended directives.



countdown how to cath step 3With the catheter still inside the packaging, press down or squeeze on the included purified water packet to distribute the water evenly and hydrate the catheter for a comfortable insertion without all the mess. 



countdown how to cath step  4Open the catheter package and remove the paper over the adhesive. You can use this adhesive to hold the catheter to a vertical surface like a bathroom cabinet or a wall if preferred, which can help to prevent a mess or spill, until your child is ready to cath. 



how to cath step 5After catheterizing, you can dispose of the one-time-use catheter, packaging, and any accessories in the trash.



For more information about the process of catheterization, we offer a how to catheterize guide just for kids in all options for straight, hydrophilic, and closed system pediatric catheters, along with cathing instructions for adult men and women too.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is intended to provide a general understanding of how to self-cath. It should not be used in place of your healthcare professional's recommendations for how you or your child should catheterize based on your personal anatomy, condition, and needs. For personalized instructions, visit, call, or consult with your prescribing physician or other professional healthcare provider.

For more information, contact us at 180 Medical where one of our friendly, trained specialists can walk you and your child through the process of catheterization. We can also send you samples of the Cure Pediatric Hydrophilic Catheter to try out. We also offer one-of-a-kind instructional materials that can be sent to you with your order, including printed color brochures and a DVD. 

Which Cure Catheter Products Does 180 Medical Carry?

180 Medical is proud to carry a wide variety of Cure catheter products, including straight catheters, coudé catheters, hydrophilic catheters, closed system catheters, and more. 

We also provide catheters from all of the major brands available on the market today.


180 medical catheter brands carried


How Can I Find the Right Catheter for My Child?

Your child's prescribing healthcare professional will be the first source to go to in order to find the right type and French size based on your child's condition and individual needs. Then give us a call to talk to one of our trained product specialists, and we'll be glad to help. We can also verify your insurance to determine if and how catheter products are covered on your policy. 

We also offer a unique program we call the 180 Medical Kids Club, which we created just for families like yours to ease fears and help you and your child acclimate to the process of cathing. We'll help you adjust to this new way of life with one-of-a-kind educational materials and fun activities (available in English and Spanish). Contact us today!

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About the Author:
Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 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.

Beating Spinal Cord Injury One Day at a Time: Mason Ellis's Story

by Jessica August 16 2017 06:09
mason ellis beating spinal cord injury quadriplegia

Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries. In fact, more than 35% of new spinal cord injuries each year are from car or motorcycle accidents. In 2015, just after the second semester of his senior year of high school began, Mason Ellis was involved in an car accident that left him a quadriplegic. From the beginning, he refused to allow his injury to beat him. Instead, he has made it his focus to defeat his injury one day at a time.

mason ellis quadriplegic

The Accident & the Aftermath

Mason couldn't have ever imagined that a fun night out with a friend driving along country roads in his home state of Indiana would lead to life in a wheelchair. After an unexpected four-way stop that dipped into a decline on a loose gravel, his car went out of control and hit an embankment, ejecting Mason nearly a hundred feet away. The car was totaled, but Mason was still alive, against all odds.
mason ellis SCI car accident
He was rushed to the hospital, and the doctors and nurses weren't sure he'd make it due to the extent of his injuries. In the crash, Mason's left shin, left femur, left collarbone, top and bottom jaw, the palate in his mouth, and some of his teeth were broken. On top of that, he cracked his skull and sustained a traumatic brain injury, and the fifth, sixth, and seventh cervical vertebrae in his neck were injured. He was now quadriplegic (C5, C6, C7).



Mason recovered in the hospital for 30 days before being transferred to the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana to start physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy (due to his brain injury). The rest of his time was devoted to learning how to gain independence back with skills like eating and brushing his teeth on his own. 

Although he looked forward to returning to his old routine after he was released from rehab, when he got home, he realized that life as a quadriplegic was going to be far more of a challenge than anticipated. Mason says, "I was clueless when I came home, and I didn't know anybody else who had my level of injury." After a few visits from a physical therapist and an occupational therapist, Mason was left on his own to learn how to maneuver in the world again as a newly paralyzed young man. 

On top of navigating life in a wheelchair, he also had to become responsible for his own catheterization routine. Mason was introduced to 180 Medical through his rehabilitation hospital, and once he discovered an intermittent catheter that worked well for his limited hand dexterity, he began to feel more confident about self-cathing.

mtg ez gripper closed system catheter mason ellis

Mason says, "I have to say the MTG EZ-Gripper really helps in preventing UTIs for me. It's a closed system, so you don't have to touch the tubing, and it has an introducer tip to bypass bacteria in the urethra." At 180 Medical, we have one of the largest selections of intermittent catheters, since no type or brand will be the right fit for everyone. We're always glad to take time to listen to our customers so we can help them find the right catheters for their individual needs and preferences.

Making a Positive Impact

Sharing Knowledge Through Videos 
As time went on, Mason says, "I hadn't really figured out how to do many things post-injury." Left with few options for information on how to complete tasks as a quadriplegic, such as daily strength exercises and getting dressed independently, he began scouring the internet for helpful resources. Unfortunately, his search came up short. The few videos he found weren't quite what he was looking for, and he figured that others like him might also be searching for the same information. He wanted to share his experience and how he has learned to do daily tasks that quadriplegics might want to know more about. That's when he decided he would take matters into his own hands; he would use his prior experience of making YouTube videos prior to his injury to create new video content and upload it to share on a YouTube channel

Soon, he started to hear from other people with spinal cord injuries who wanted to let him know how helpful his videos were. Family, friends, and loved ones of those living with spinal cord injuries also gave him positive feedback. To his surprise, he even heard from doctors, caregivers, therapists, and students learning about quadriplegia in medical school. 

Every day, more and more people discover the multitude of helpful videos Mason has personally worked so hard to create. He has hundreds of ideas left to offer, and he's excited to continue on this path and further develop his channel to connect and talk with others.


Some of Mason's most popular videos include:

Peer Mentoring Others with Spinal Cord Injuries
mason ellis peer mentor"People say I came a long way based on everything I broke. I haven't had many complications, and I feel really thankful for that," Mason says. Quadriplegics often face complications such as pressure sores and UTIs (urinary tract infections), and knowing this, Mason wanted to do what he could to help them.

He is now a certified Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation peer mentor, and he visits his old rehab to talk with recently injured patients before they are discharged to go back home.

During these mentoring sessions, Mason likes to share some of what he's learned, such as:
  • maintaining and gaining strength
  • proper hygiene
  • products that have helped him
  • staying mindful of the importance of doing pressure reliefs to minimize the risk of pressure sores


"I'm passionate about peer mentoring, because [my injury] really affected my life. I like to try and help out the community."



Staying Active & Meeting New People
Mason is more physically active now than he was before his injury. "I feel like I took being able-bodied for granted," he says, "So I never tried. Now, this is like proving to myself that I can do it and proving to others they're wrong if they say I can't do it." Some of the things he loves to do is hunt, fish, and ride in his adaptive UTV to visit friends and roam around the town where he lives.

mason ellis at camp possabilityOne place he loves to visit in the summer is a local camp in Indiana for disabled adults, ages 18-35, who have conditions like spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, and spinal cord injuries. At Camp PossAbility, young adults get the opportunity to meet and befriend others like them and participate in fun outdoor adventures like adaptive horseback riding, swimming, kayaking, zip-lining, and more. Mason learned about the camp when someone reached out to him about it through his YouTube channel.

He was also able to connect with the creator of Able Outdoors Magazine, and now Mason is a contributing columnist for the magazine. He writes about some of his experiences with hunting and other fun adaptive outdoor activities.

When he mentors others, he likes to talk about some of these hobbies in order to let them know that life isn't over for them, and they can still do all the things they loved doing before in new, adaptive ways.

Looking Forward to Whatever Comes Next

mason ellis standing Outside of his growing YouTube channel, Mason keeps busy with college courses in Information Technology, and he hopes to have his car adapted so he can start driving again. He just wants keep moving forward.

Mason says, "I think it feels good to beat your injuries. It took me a while to figure everything out, but I like to say that I beat my injury when I learn certain tasks. I don't want the injury beating me."

Mason has already positively affected hundreds of lives with his videos, Able Outdoors columns, connecting with others at camp, and taking time to talk to people who need help adapting to their new life in a wheelchair after a spinal cord injury. We're sure he's going to go on to do many more great things and continue impacting others in significant ways. 


mason ellis sci quote

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About the Author:
Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 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.