Toll-Free(877) 688-2729

180 Medical Product News: Introducing Hollister Essentials

by Jessica May 1 2014 12:11
180 Medical Product News
Interested in keeping up with the latest catheters available on the market? 180 Medical is always ready to share the scoop on the newest products with you, and today, we'd like to introduce you to the recently released line from Hollister!

Tell me more about Hollister.

The Essentials line is manufactured by Hollister, a global manufacturing company with a goal to provide top-quality products to improve the lives of those who use their supplies and to serve the needs of healthcare professionals as well. They currently provide products to over 90 countries, and the company was originally created in 1921. You can learn more about Hollister's mission and their history at their official website.

What are some features of the Hollister Essentials intermittent catheters?

Essentials intermittent catheters are 100% latex-free medical-grade PVC and come in an easy-open package. Each catheter features fire-polished eyelets to create a smoother insertion and help minimize any trauma or irritation during catheterization. These eyelets are also offset to maximize flow of urine. The catheters also feature an enhanced grip on the flexible color-coded funnel for easy handling. The Essentials line products are available in straight tip with lengths of 6 inches (female length) and 16 inches (male length) and in coude tip (available in male length, 16 inches, only). 

Take a look at the side by side comparison of the catheters here:

  • You can see an immediate difference in the funnel shape and size between the two. While the traditional line's funnel is smooth, the Essentials catheter funnel is more flexible and features an enhanced grip for easier handling.
  • The Essentials coude catheter funnel also features a guide notch to indicate the coude tip's position during insertion.

Hollister Apogee Essentials catheter funnel guide strip notch

Which of these Essentials products does 180 Medical carry?

We are proud to carry the entire line of Hollister Essentials intermittent catheters.
  • Essentials Coude is available from 8 Fr to 18 Fr.
  • Essentials Straight tip intermittent catheters are available in female length (6 inches) from 8 Fr to 14 Fr, pediatric length (10 inches) from 6 Fr to 10 Fr, and male length (16 inches) from 6 Fr to 18 Fr.
If you're interested in trying out one of these Essentials catheters, contact 180 Medical by filling out our online inquiry or give us a call at 1-877-688-2729 to speak to one of our highly trained, friendly specialists.

About the Author:

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

Todd Brown's Story & the Unique Perspective of 180 Medical

by Jessica April 3 2014 16:31
After our recent post to assuage fears about catheterization, you may have some more questions or some curiosity about our founder and CEO, Todd Brown, and a little more about 180 Medical's unique perspective in the catheter supply industry.

Let's start at the beginning with Todd's inspiring story. Todd grew up active in sports, including basketball and track. He loved riding his motorcycle and got involved in motocross, which is a physically-demanding, fast-paced form of motorcycle racing on mostly off-road, closed courses. After graduating college, he was still actively involved in motocross. In 1994, at the age of 25, a tragic accident during a motocross jump left Todd with a T-7,8 spinal cord injury.

Adjusting to Life in a Wheelchair

Even though this was most definitely a life-changing event for him, he was determined to never give up.  After two months of rehabilitation, he went back to work. Wanting to keep an active lifestyle, he even participated in his first wheelchair marathon just six months after his accident.

Out of the many difficulties that faced Todd in his new life as a paraplegic was dealing with frequent urinary tract infections, which occurred consistently as he cleaned and reused his catheters. On top of that, he dealt with frustration with getting the right medical supplies he now needed from companies who were totally unfamiliar with the right choices of product for those with spinal cord injuries. Where were the companies who had people who actually used catheters and those related medical supplies? Where were the suppliers who cared about their customers' needs? 

Todd's Life Begins to Turn Around

One day, while attending a wheelchair race, a fellow athlete introduced Todd to the idea of sterile use (that is, using a catheter one time and then disposing of it, versus reusing after cleaning it) and gave him a closed system catheter to try out. Right away, Todd's health improved. The recurrent Urinary Tract Infections that had previously continually dragged down his immune system lessened. He felt like his quality of life had done a 180 degree turn.

The Company Begins

Shortly after this, Todd and his wife started a medical supply company out of their garage. He had high goals for this company and hoped to help other people who had similar medical needs. He knew he wanted to have a well-trained, compassionate staff and a good selection of the best quality supplies available.


Today, 180 Medical is one of the fastest-growing, nationally-accredited providers of sterile use catheters, related urologic supplies, and ostomy supplies. We have a continually growing staff of caring specialists, including some who are disabled and self-catheterize on a daily basis, so they have first-hand knowledge and experience to share.

Of course, no one can tell his story as well as Todd himself. Take a few minutes to watch this inspiring video of interviews with Todd and his family.

About the Author:

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

So You've Been Told You Need to Start Using Catheters -- Now What?

by Jessica March 31 2014 11:30
Change is not always easy. It's completely natural to feel some fear when your doctor tells you that you will need to use intermittent catheters going forward as part of your treatment plan.

We here at 180 Medical understand how daunting it can feel to be told that your life will be different going forward, whether due to injury, surgery, disease, or another diagnosis that requires the use of catheters.

Some of our employees and Todd Brown, 180 Medical CEO and foundereven our founder/CEO Todd Brown, after devastating spinal cord injuries, have experienced the transition to life in a wheelchair. They understand what it's like to  face new challenges after leaving the rehabilitation hospital and the long process of finding and adjusting to the use of various medical supplies specifically for their needs. They continue to use intermittent catheters (among other supplies) every single day, so these employees have a personal experience to share with you -- not just with the process of intermittent catheterization but also a true understanding of those initial feelings of concern over this new process that will be a part of your life, whether temporarily or long-term, depending upon your health professional's prescribed treatment plan.

While your doctor should be your go-to for medical advice, 180 Medical is committed to being a support for you by giving the best service possible while also providing you with the resources and education you need to feel fully informed and comfortable with this new process.

Give us a call today to experience the quality service and care that 180 Medical is ready to give you! You'll find a listening ear from a well-trained, compassionate specialist who can help you through the transition to self-cathing.

About the Author:

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

Latest Intermittent Catheter Products: Introducing GentleCath

by Jessica March 27 2014 10:56

Have you heard about GentleCath intermittent catheters? We here at 180 Medical are always excited to share the latest and greatest products and information with our customers, so chances are you may have already talked to one of our friendly specialists about this quality brand and even gotten to experience these quality products for yourself!

What are some features of GentleCath products?

GentleCath is manufactured by ConvaTec, a worldwide medical product company. They manufacture quality items such as ostomy supplies, wound care, continence care, and more.

The GentleCath catheters all have polished, rounded eyelets and soft rounded tips to help minimize friction and make the catheterization experience more comfortable from insertion to withdrawal.

The latex-free vinyl catheters also feature color-coded funnels to help you determine French size. For more on how to determine French size based on the catheter funnel colors, see our informative article on Catheter French Sizes.

Whatever your lifestyle, GentleCath may have just the right intermittent catheter for your needs.

Which products does 180 Medical carry?

180 Medical is proud to be a provider of GentleCath's entire product line, including:
  • 100% latex-free PVC (vinyl) straight intermittent catheters, available in 16" male length (ranging in French size from 8fr to 18fr) and 8" female length (French sizes of 8fr to 16fr)
  • 100% latex-free PVC (vinyl) coude tip intermittent catheters -- available in 16" male length (French sizes from 8fr to 18fr). Recently updated, back, and better than ever with improved eyelet placement on sides!
  • Red rubber intermittent catheters in both straight and coude tip -- 16" male length (straight tip comes in French sizes from 10fr to 20fr and the coude tip comes in 12fr to 20fr)
And coming soon, GentleCath will add a top-quality line of hydrophilic catheters and hydrophilic catheter kits to their brand. More information on that to come!

How can I try out GentleCath's products and find the catheter that's right for me?

Simply contact 180 Medical by filling out our online inquiry or give us a call at 1-877-688-2729 to speak to one of our highly trained, friendly specialists. We will be happy to help!

8 Commonly Asked Questions About Catheters

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

If it's your first time self-catheterizing, to help you better understand catheters, how they work and the process, we've examined the eight most commonly asked questions about catheters, along with answers.

1. What exactly is a catheter?

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

2. How does it work?

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

3. Why do I need one?

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

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

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

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

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

6. When can I remove it?

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

7. How often can I use a catheter?

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

8. Are there complications involved in using a catheter?

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

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

Catheter French Sizes

by Jessica February 24 2014 15:10

urinary intermittent catheter french sizes blog header
Determining the right size of intermittent catheter to use can greatly increase the efficiency and comfort of your self-catheterization routine. But how does one choose the correct size to fit their individual needs? Read on to find out more!

French Sizes

All internal catheters, both foleys and intermittent styles, are sized by a universal gauge system which is referred to as a "French size." This is based upon the measure of the external diameter of the tube. 

The way the size is determined is a simple multiplication of 3 (diameters in millimeters multiplied by 3 = the French size). So, if a catheter has a diameter of 4.7 millimeters, the French (Fr) size is 14. 

Catheter Funnel Colors

Most vinyl and silicone intermittent catheters with funnels use a universal color coding system to help you determine what French size a catheter is. See the below chart for the most common French sizes along with their corresponding funnel color codes. 

180 medical catheter funnel color reference chart

Getting the Right Size

Why is determining the French size such an important part of selecting the right catheter for your needs? Efficiency and comfort are both important elements in the self-catheterization process. If you use a urinary catheter with too large of a diameter for your urethra, cathing can be more difficult and even painful. If it's far too large, you will not be able to insert it at all.

On the other hand, if you use a French size that is too small, you may find that the overall pace of draining your bladder will go much slower. On top of that, if you use a catheter smaller than your urethra, urine released from the bladder will not only escape through the catheter tube but could also go around it, which can get pretty messy, as the flow will be harder to control. 

Luckily, there is a wide range of sizes all the way from pediatric sizes (for children) to larger French sizes, typically for adults. That way, you and your doctor can select the right size for you!

There are also varying lengths to accommodate for the different urethral lengths between genders and ages:
  • Pediatric (typically around 10 inches)
  • Female (6-8 inches)
  • Male/Unisex: (16 inches)

How Do You Find the Catheter That's Right for You?

To determine the right size of catheter for your individual needs, please be sure to consult with your prescribing healthcare professional, so that you can get a hassle-free experience with your intermittent catheters every time. 

Contact 180 Medical during our business hours by Live Chat or giving us a call at 1-877-688-2729 to speak to one of our trained, friendly specialists. We are happy to find the right catheter for your needs, and we can also verify your insurance for you to determine your catheter coverage. 

180 medical catheter online catalog showcase footer

About the Author:

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

Things Your Child Should Know About Self-Catheterization

by Catheter Experts February 21 2014 14:50

If your child has a condition that requires intermittent catheterization, there will come a point in time when they may need to learn how to self-cath in order to gain some independence. Your occupational therapist and/or doctor will test your child to see if they're ready to start cathing on their own. In general, they'll most likely examine their hand skills, vision, and ability to follow directions. Additionally, they will ask your child to do it themselves while in the presence of a nurse or doctor to make sure they are doing it correctly. If all goes well, your child can start cathing all on their own now!

Here are a few helpful tips for any young person new to self-catheterization:

  • Have your supplies ready to go. The first step in self-cathing is having the right equipment and supplies. Depending on the type of intermittent catheter you will be using, you may need some additional supplies on hand, such as lubricant, clean water source and soap or antiseptic wipes, sterile gloves, etc. If you are not nearby a toilet, you will also need a container to store your urine until you can dispose of it. A closed system catheter or a catheter with an insertion supplies kit are both great options to keep your cathing experience sterile, discreet, and convenient, no matter where you travel. For your little ones who are heading off to school on their own, having an all-in-one kit can make a big difference.

  • Keep the process as hygienic and sterile as possible. As discussed above, it's helpful to use supplies that are discreet and convenient and play a big role in keeping your self-catheterization experience hygienic. Washing your hands with soap and water before cathing and wearing sterile gloves can go far in helping to reduce the risk of infection. Using a "touchless" closed system catheter with an insertion tip can also greatly reduce the risk of recurrence of UTIs. Give us a call to discuss your product options!

  • Watch out for the signs and symptoms of UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections). Especially when you first start cathing and are still learning the process of how to properly cath, it's important to keep an eye out for any symptoms of UTIs. Be sure to only use your catheters once and then dispose of them. If there is any pain, burning, consistent urge to void, blood in urine, or if you've experiencing a fever, contact your doctor.

  • Relax. It might be worrisome or even a stressful idea for some that self-cathing will be a part of one's daily life, but just know that it does get easier with time. You might be surprised to know just how many people, even people you know, self-cath every day. Remember that if you're tense, it may be tougher to insert your catheter. Parents, you can take a helpful role by easing your child's fears by talking to them about cathing. Teach them to relax through various breathing techniques. Sometimes coughing can help loosen the muscles to allow an easier insertion. Remember, if you run into any pain or difficulty with inserting the catheter, don't force it. Just call your doctor, and they can advise you best on what to do.

  • Join 180 Medical's Kids Club. The 180 Medical Kids Club was created to ease the fears of families just like yours that have been told your child needs to catheterize. We'll help you and your child adjust to this new way of life with one-of-a-kind educational materials and fun activities for your child. It's as simple as a quick sign-up online!

In addition, we recommend looking into our 180 Medical How To Cath DVDs, as well as our online portal, which offers cathing instructions and other resources.

Contact us today to learn more about our resources available for your child!

What Do the Symbols on My Catheter Package Mean?

by Jessica February 12 2014 13:11
Whether you're brand new or a seasoned pro at self-cathing or using ostomy supplies, you probably come in contact with your medical supplies on a regular basis. And at some point, you may have looked at the packaging on your catheter or ostomy equipment and seen something like the below picture.

Do all those unrecognizable symbols on the package make you feel like you're in the dark? 180 Medical can shed light on this situation for you! We love to offer education when and where we can.

When you speak with one of our caring specialists about the best way to prevent a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), they will discuss what is called sterile or single use (for more on that topic, see our article "5 Ways to Help Reduce UTIs"), and then they may ask you to take a look at your catheter package to find a symbol of a number 2 with a line crossed through it. That symbol means "do not reuse," which indicates the FDA's guidelines that all intermittent catheters are considered sterile-use devices that should be used once and then disposed of.

Depending upon the brand and type of supply, packaging can vary in color, size, length, and shape. But you can always depend on knowing that the symbols are there, because they are regulated by the FDA.

Here are a few of the most common symbols:
 Symbol for "Do not reuse." Single or sterile use only.
   Manufacturer's lot number or batch code. They symbol will be right next to a set of numbers indicating the number of the batch in which this particular supply was produced.
      Indicates the product's reference or item number. Your 180 Medical specialist may ask you to find this number to determine what item you have on hand.
       Manufacturer. This picture will be next to the name and address of the manufacturer.
   Date of manufacture. Next to this symbol, you will see a date with 4 digits indicating the year and 2 following digits indicating the month that this product was produced/manufactured in (YYYY-MM).
  Use By. Next to this small hourglass symbol, you will see the expiration date with 4 digits indicating the year and 2 following digits indicating the month (YYYY-MM).
    By prescription only. U.S. Federal Law restricts this device to sale on order of a physician only.
   Method of sterilization by Ethylene Oxide.
   Method of sterilization using irradiation.
   Method of sterilization using dry heat or steam.
   Not sterilized. You may see this on products such as non-sterile gloves.
   Instructions are available to read or consult.

As always, if you ever have a question about this or anything else regarding your supplies or service with 180 Medical, please feel free to give us a call!

Source for regulated symbols:

About the Author:

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

Tips On Holiday Traveling With Catheters

by Jessica December 20 2013 03:22

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  And with the holidays fast approaching, many of you may have a trip scheduled to visit family, friends, and other loved ones. For those of you who self-catheterize or are a caretaker for someone who must use intermittent catheters, you may have some concerns about the journey ahead – whether by plane, train, or automobile!

We here at 180 Medical want to offer you some tips for your holiday travels!

Flying? Be prepared for TSA security screenings.
  • Remember the 3-1-1 rule for carry-on luggage. If you are carrying a separate lubricant, sterile water/saline, or disinfectant, it is safe to bring aboard the airplane as long as it is 3.4 oz or less in volume. It must fit in 1 quart-sized clear plastic zip-top baggie. Only one bag per passenger is allowed.
  • If you are bringing catheters in your carry-on luggage, any lubricant, sterile water packets, etc., will need to be included in the quart-size baggie.
  • If you’re scheduled for a longer trip, it may be best to put larger volumes of liquids in your checked luggage.
Keep adequate stock on hand.
  • Before you head out on your trip, you’ll want to make sure to pack enough catheters and any other related supplies with you in your luggage to last throughout the trip at the very least. It may be advisable to include a few extras in case of any emergency or any unexpected delays due to the weather, etc.
  • If you’re planning on an extended stay at your destination, consider shipping your supplies there instead of checking them in your luggage. This not only frees up space in your suitcase for clothes, presents, souvenirs, or other personal items, but you can also make sure you have the supplies when you need them -- no need to worry about your luggage getting lost or delayed. If you know in advance where you’ll be staying, you can even request your next order from 180 Medical to be shipped to your destination’s address (in the U.S.A.).
Talk to a 180 Medical specialist about trying out a travel-ready catheter.
  • When you’re traveling, you’re making a lot of stops in public restrooms, hotel rooms, etc., and a sterile environment just isn’t a guarantee! Consider trying an intermittent catheter that is specifically designed to be “touch-free” and travel-ready, like a closed-system or a pre-lubricated catheter (dependent upon what your insurance covers).  Often these catheters also include insertion supplies like antiseptic wipes and gloves to further reduce risk of UTIs. Give us a call today to discuss your options with a one of 180’s trained specialists at 877-688-2729.
  • For personal tips on airline travel from 180 Medical’s own employee, Bill, check out his article from earlier this year. Bill has been using catheters for over 20 years and has plenty of experience traveling as a person in a wheelchair.

Feel free to give us a call if you have further questions about your supplies and your travel plans. We’ll be glad to help you out.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from all of us at 180 Medical!

Do you have any advice or tips to give for others traveling with their catheters? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

About the Author:

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

5 Things You Should Know About Intermittent Catheters

by Jessica November 7 2013 15:16
1. Just as no one person is the same, intermittent catheters are not all exactly the same. There are various types to fit your preferences and needs (closed system catheters, hydrophilic catheters, straight tip catheters, coude tip catheters, female and male length catheters, etc.)

2.  Intermittent catheters also come in a range of different sizes. There are even tiny pediatric catheters for infants! Catheters are measured by the external diameter of the catheter tube, and this is commonly called a “French size.” You can tell the French size of a catheter by the color of its funnel end. See our chart for the funnel colors and the related French sizes. Your prescribing health practitioner will work with you to determine the best French size for your needs. If you are having problems with the size (for instance, if it feels difficult to insert or if it takes too long for the urine to drain), give your physician a call to discuss adjustments. As one of the largest catheter suppliers in the nation, we likely have the size you need!

3. There are ways to reduce the risk of recurrent UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections), such as using catheters sterilely (using it once and then disposing of it – see #4). You can also make sure to wash hands thoroughly prior to catheterization, wear sterile gloves, and touch the catheter tube itself as little as possible when using regular straight catheters. Options such as hydrophilic, pre-lubricated or closed system catheters can minimize the risk because they do not require manual lubrication and are “touchless” for the most part. Many catheters can also be provided with insertion supplies, such as gloves, disinfectant wipes, and more.  For more detailed information on how to reduce UTIs, please see our article at

4. Intermittent catheters should be used once only and then thrown away. The FDA (Food & Drug Administration of the United States) regulates all intermittent catheters as single-use devices and do not approve these to be washed and reused. Catheters often have unique features such as crevices, angles, and porous surfaces that create barriers for cleaning and are capable of quick bacterial growth, even after professional cleanings in independent studies. Using catheters more than once can increase the risk of UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections).  For more information, see our article about the risks of reusing catheters.

5. Think you’re stuck paying out of pocket for your catheters? Most major insurance plans, including Medicare, will cover enough intermittent catheters for sterile use. See our handy insurance guide here. Give us a call, and we can verify your insurance policy and let you know your plan’s current coverage for intermittent catheters and related urological supplies.

About the Author:

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