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Bladder-Friendly Mango Salsa

by AmyHernandez May 16 2018 05:48

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

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

 Without further ado, we give you...

Trish's Bladder-Friendly Mango Salsa



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


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

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

  3. Chop the mango, clean the seeds.

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

  5. Stir everything together, and chill until served.

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

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

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

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

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About the Author:

Amy is the Web Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical. Her favorite thing about working at 180 Medical is being part of a company that is truly committed to improving the lives of its customers. When she's not at work she enjoys traveling, camping, rock climbing, and spending time with her husband and three incredible stepchildren.

Interstitial Cystitis and Bladder Pain Syndrome Awareness Month

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

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

ic awareness month

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

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

What is Interstitial Cystitis?

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

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

How Is Interstitial Cystitis Treated?

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

My Experience With Bladder Instillations

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

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

Awareness About Interstitial Cystitis Helps

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

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

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

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

Related Posts You May Find Helpful:

About the Author: 

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

Advantages of Intermittent Cathing

by Jessica January 19 2016 15:38
You may have heard the term “intermittent catheterization” before, but you may not be completely clear as to what it means. Intermittent catheterization is the process of using a catheter to drain your bladder on a regular or semi-regular basis, rather than letting the catheter stay inside the bladder to continually drain the bladder into a collection bag (an indwelling or foley catheter is used for that purpose).  Typically, this is only required when there is something hindering the bladder’s ability to void urine naturally. An intermittent catheter offers many advantages and health benefits; read on to better understand intermittent catheterization and how it can help you.

The Purpose of Intermittent Catheterization

Intermittent catheterization is commonly used by those who experience incontinence, bladder problems, or urinary retention. Those who have a spinal cord injury, spina bifida, or a neurological problem also often require the use of intermittent catheters to drain their bladders. It may also be used temporarily after certain surgeries such as prostate surgery or an abdominal hysterectomy.  
doctors stethoscope
Your healthcare practitioner will instruct you on how to properly use an intermittent catheter, including how often you will need to drain your bladder based on your needs. Because catheters come in different types and sizes, your doctor will also help you determine which one is best for you and your condition. 180 Medical helps make shopping for catheters fast and easy, as you can conveniently see our selection of catheters online.

The Benefits of Intermittent Catheterization

  • It's Fairly Simple: While it may seem a little intimidating at first, self-cathing can become a relatively quick and simple procedure after a little bit of practice. Many people are able to catheterize themselves, or do so with the help of a caregiver.
  • It’s an Effective Solution: Neglecting to empty your bladder regularly can lead to urinary tract infections or even bladder infections. Intermittent catheterization is an effective solution to helping those who have difficulty emptying their bladders and helping prevent such health problems if done correctly. 
  • It’s Safe to Use: Compared to indwelling foley catheters, intermittent catheters have been found to cause less infections. Since foley catheters stay in the body for longer periods of time, urinary tract infections can become a constant problem for some.  By using an intermittent catheter, the chance of experiencing these side effects is greatly reduced. 
  • Inexpensive: Some healthcare and medical products can be relatively expensive out of pocket. Depending on your insurance provider, they may or may not cover certain items. Intermittent straight catheters are often the best option for those who are uninsured or underinsured, because they are rather inexpensive. 
  • Promotes Independence: Because intermittent catheters allow you to gain control of your bladder and care for yourself, they help promote independence and, more importantly, allow you a better quality of life.

 If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how we can offer you quality catheters along with top-notch service, please contact our catheter specialists at 1-877-688-2729 or via our Live Chat feature online.

catheter showcase footer

Interstitial Cystitis Resources and Connections

by admin April 27 2015 08:30
living with interstitial cystitis IC blog series header

If you have been following my Living With Interstitial Cystitis blog series, you know that last year, I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, IC, and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. You can learn more about Interstitial Cystitis with my prior blog posts ("My Personal Experience with IC" and "IC and Your Diet").

Due to the nature of this condition, many of us who have been diagnosed with IC can go through many emotions, including depression, anger, denial, grief, and a sense of overall isolation at times - as though no one else knows what we're going through. I can tell you firsthand that all of these feelings are perfectly normal to have, especially when dealing with a painful and personal condition such as Interstitial Cystitis. But I also know how helpful it can be when you start to reach out and talk with others who can relate to the feelings and issues you're experiencing.

Here are some great support options for you to begin exploring. Some of these are simply resources that you can use for your own education, others are various support groups and forums where you can connect with others. Feel free to share your own resources or links to blogs that you have found helpful in your own journey with Interstitial Cystitis.

Social Media Resources & Connections

Interstitial Cystitis Network's YouTube Channel, run by Jill Osborne

Understanding Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome

Interstitial Cystitis Association (

Interstitial Cystitis: Living with IC Support Group

Interstitial Cystitis Network

My Invisible IC - Closed Group

Interstitial Cystitis Network

IC Association

Bladder Support

Life Beyond IC

Healthy IC Recipes

IC Today News

IC Dietitian, Julie Beyer (founder of

Interstitial Cystitis Association (

Interstitial Cystitis Network (

Healing Interstitial Cystitis (

IC Diet

Interstitial Cystitis Association - Diet Information

My Food Style

Interstitial Cystitis Recipes Facebook Group

Cooking for Interstitial Cystitis

Support Groups & Forums

Interstitial Cystitis Association List of Local/State Support Groups

Daily Strength Interstitial Cystitis Support Group

IC Network Support Center

IC Network 24/7 Support Forum

Global Support Groups/Website listing
from IPBF

Pain Connection Support Groups

Other Helpful Links & Websites to Explore

Voices of Hope Blog (Stories of hope, encouragement and success from the IC community)

Public Restroom & Travel Tips (

Fitness & IC (

The Echenberg Institute for Pelvic & Sexual Pain

Urologic Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (UCPPS) Society

International Painful Bladder Foundation

Feel free to also explore our blog from the past in regards to Interstitial Cystitis and other bladder health-related topics.

If you have begun to use catheters as a related aid to your condition, you can turn to 180 Medical for a listening ear and professional, top-class service during this difficult time. We have a wide selection from all of the top catheter manufacturers. Contact one of our highly-trained, friendly specialists today, and we’ll be glad to help you find the right catheter for your needs.

About the Author: 

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

Interstitial Cystitis and Your Diet

by admin March 23 2015 11:54
living with interstitial cystitis blog header

If you have been following my Living With Interstitial Cystitis blog series, you know that last year, I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, IC, and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. You can read my last blog post here.

When I began having symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis, I was in major denial about the condition. I thought there was no way the food I ate could affect my bladder, until I also started having flank pain. I was asked by my doctor to just try the IC diet to see if it helped alleviate my pain. Before some testing I had to undergo for my kidneys, I was told to follow the diet strictly.

When I began this diet, it not only had affected my bladder pain but also had a direct effect on the degree of flank pain I had on a daily basis. I noticed that as I cut out more and more of the troublesome foods and drinks, the better I felt for longer periods of time.

Before I started, I drank a full pot of coffee every morning, three diet sodas (containing both aspartame and saccharin) per day, frozen and processed foods, chocolate, and pretty much anything else I wanted. With the old standard diet, I had continuous symptoms. I had to come to a point where I finally decided that there is just no food out there that tastes good enough to keep me in pain and discomfort. I have cut out almost all of those problem foods now (with the exception of coffee, which I still have in moderation).

I am fairly new to my diagnosis with Interstitial Cystitis; however, I did have symptoms for a while before I actually sought medical treatment. Like many others with this condition, I have other medical conditions. From what I have researched, IC tends to cluster with other diseases and pain conditions. I completely understand how frustrating it must be for some who have long suffered from this extremely painful condition to take advice from someone who has not had suffered the symptoms long enough to give tips. While I understand how specialized and extreme the condition can be, I also must convey that this is not my only chronic condition. I see multiple doctors, including a rheumatologist, a nephrologist, a urologist, an orthopedic doctor (I had one hip replaced at age 36, and other joints are affected as well), and a general practitioner. I follow the IC diet strictly, which is one of the biggest reasons my symptoms remain as under control as they can be. They are never completely gone. I always have some degree of burning sensation or urgency, but with the diet it is tolerable.

You can learn more at, which gives full details about the diet, but the main foods to avoid are:
  • Alcohol 
  • Artificial sweeteners (aspartame and saccharin) 
  • Carbonated beverages (soda) 
  • Coffee  
  • Citrus 
  • Hot peppers and spicy food 
  • Yogurt or sour cream 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Soy 
  • Vinegar (including vinaigrette salad dressings ) 
  • Processed food 
  • Cured meats 
  • Chocolate (a really bad trigger for kidney stones as well, which I also have) 
  • Canned foods 
  • Grapes 
  • Sharp cheeses 
  • Tea 
  • Black and red pepper 
  • Horseradish 
  • Cinnamon (this is on the "try it" list, but is one that I personally have to avoid) 
  • Pecans   
There are entirely too many foods to list them all, and many are on the "try it" list. Pork is something, for instance, that always bothers me. It's definitely a food item I have to avoid. 

IC is such a personalized condition. Sometimes I can eat something one day, and it will not bother me, but the next time I eat it, it will. It can also depend on what else you had that day (food combinations), and if you are a female, it can even sometimes depend on where you are at in your menstrual cycle.

Since I started on the IC diet, I have cut out processed food. At my home, we make almost everything from scratch, cutting out boxed dinners and mixes. I no longer eat fast food or frozen dinners, which can be challenging on the nights when my daughters have school functions, but we have adjusted. I whole-heartedly suggest trying this diet to anyone who suffers from IC.

The elimination diet is easy to use, and it can help you to rule out foods, if you are unsure of which ones are irritating your bladder. It takes all of the willpower you can muster, but I promise it’s worth it to feel better! Cut all of the major triggers out, then slowly add food in one at a time.

As an added bonus, since starting this diet, I have lost about 30 pounds. I feel healthier than I have in years! My skin looks great, and I have more energy. The key is to make sure you get enough protein, fruit, and vegetables!

I still have some degree of symptoms even with the diet. This isn't a miracle cure, but it does help to ease the symptoms if followed. Although, for some, it can completely trish interstitial cystitis ic diet fruit smoothiealleviate most or all of the symptoms. It just depends on the person and the severity of their condition.

I thought it might be nice to include a recipe for a fruit smoothie that I drink for breakfast and lunch each day. My recipe includes bananas, although this is an item on the caution list. If you find that bananas bother you, you could try another type of fruit. You will need:
  • ½-1 whole banana (or substitute another fruit) 
  • 1 cup blueberries 
  • ½ cup raspberries 
  • 1 cup skim milk 
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave nectar 
As a personal preference, I use frozen berries, but if you use fresh, you might add an ice cube or two, depending on the consistency you prefer. Blend in a blender or magic bullet until smooth. Drink promptly.

Do you have any tasty recipes from the Interstitial Cystitis Diet that you'd like to share with us?

If you are experiencing symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis, just know you are not alone in your personal journey. Stay tuned to our blog for more posts, including my own experience and input on Interstitial Cystitis.

About the Author: 

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


My Personal Experience with Interstitial Cystitis

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

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

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

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

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

Common symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis

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

Personal Tips for IC

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

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

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


About the Author: 

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


September is Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Month

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

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

interstitial cystitis awareness month 180 medical

Interstitial Cystitis and Its Symptoms

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

Symptoms can include:

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

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

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

What Can I Do To Raise Awareness About Interstitial Cystitis?

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

Interstitial Cystitis Resources

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

180 medical jessAbout the Author:

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

Catheters 101: The Basic Components of Your Intermittent Catheter

by Jessica August 7 2014 13:31
catheters 101 basics of intermittent catheters

Are you new to the world of self-catheterization? Whether due to urinary retention, incontinence, neurogenic bladder, a spinal cord injury, or another medical condition requiring the use of a urinary catheter to drain your bladder, 180 Medical is here for you.

We understand that it can feel somewhat unnerving for some people to start cathing for the first time, and that's why we want to help you by explaining the basic components of an intermittent catheter.

This can be a great start to feeling more confident and comfortable with the process as you begin to learn your own self-catheterization routine. 

Catheter Sizes

Because everyone has a different body and different needs, we like to remind you that there is no one catheter out there that will work for everyone across the board. The same goes for the size, catheter type, and length of your catheter product.

Catheters are sized by what is called "French sizes," which refers to the diameter of the catheter tube. Most typically, sizes range from 5 Fr - 24 Fr.

When you receive your first order of catheters, thanks to a universal color-coding system, you can tell the catheter's French size by the color of its funnel end, unless it does not have a funnel or if the brand does not use color-coding for its funnels. 

catheter funnel reference chart

With the right French size, urine should flow from your bladder at a timely pace while allowing the procedure to be performed free of discomfort and pain.

A catheter that is too small will let urine flow around the sides of the tube, which can make quite a mess. On the other hand, you certainly don't want a catheter that is too big for your urethra, which could cause discomfort and pain.

Your doctor will select and prescribe the proper size with you, taking into consideration your preferences as well as your particular anatomy.

Catheter Funnels

Funnels are often attached to catheters for various reasons. As mentioned above, they are often color-coded for easy French size identification, depending on the brand and type of your catheter. Funnels are useful for gripping the catheter without touching the tube itself while directing the urine flow into a receptacle. Funnels are also designed to attach to drain bags, in case a urinal or toilet is unavailable.

Catheters don’t always come with funnel ends, however. There is an option called a luer end, which comes just like a regular catheter (same features, same insertion tip) but without the funnel, leaving the end like an open tube.

The choice between a catheter with a funnel or luer end is typically a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer having a funnel for easy size identification or easier gripping without touching the tube itself. The luer end catheters are sometimes preferred because the packaging may be smaller or more discreet due to the lack of a funnel.

Catheter Lengths

There are three different lengths available for catheters: male, female, and pediatric (children):

Women and children generally use shorter lengths because of their shorter urethras, although some may prefer a male length catheter. There are also compact and pocket catheter options available for both genders.

If you're interested in a more discreet option like a pocket catheter, feel free to contact us and talk to one of our Catheter Specialists.

Curious if your insurance covers catheters? We can verify your insurance plan for you to see if and how your catheter products may be covered. 

intermittent catheter size and length comparison

Catheter Tips

Catheters can have a straight tip or a coudé insertion tip.

The most common insertion tip is the straight tip, which is the basic tip that will work for most people across the board.

The coudé tip, also known as a curved or bent tip, is used most often when a blockage, enlarged prostate, or stricture makes the use of a straight catheter difficult or even impossible. This is most common in men, so the coudé tip is almost always on a male length catheter.

coudé insertion tip vs straight insertion tip catheters

Do you have any other questions about urinary catheters? You've come to the right place.

At 180 Medical, we specialize in urethral catheter products, as well as ostomy supplies, so when you speak to one of our specialists, you know you're talking to a catheter expert who will consider your needs and preferences as well as your doctor's recommendations in helping you find an intermittent catheter that can be efficient and easy to use for you! Contact us today!

Disclaimer: Please note that this is intended to provide a general understanding of the basics of intermittent catheters. It should not be used in place of any recommendations or instructions from your prescribing physician or other professional healthcare professional. Together, with your doctor's office, 180 Medical can help you find a catheter that works for you.

Related Posts You May Find Helpful:

180 medical jessAbout the Author:

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

Catheter Materials: An Overview

by Jessica May 19 2014 14:19
There are a lot of different choices out there in the intermittent catheter world. On top of figuring out the right length and french size, it's important to choose the right material as well. But sometimes, it can be a little confusing to know which one is best for your needs.

We'll shed some light on the different types of materials that are most commonly used in intermittent catheters.

The Three Most Common Catheter Materials

Vinyl Catheters

vinyl catheter example

Also known as PVC (Polyvinyl chloride), this is one of the most popular materials used in intermittent urinary catheters.

Here are some of the main features to know:

  • Firm yet pliable for easy insertion
  • Clear material allows you to see your output
  • Color-coded funnel to determine french size and for easy gripping of the catheter
  • Some brands can come without a funnel
  • PVC/vinyl catheter are typically free of latex (but be sure to let us know if you have a latex allergy)
  • Depending on the manufacturer, the eyelets (holes near the insertion tip for draining the bladder) may be cold-punched or polished/smoothed, which can be a factor in overall comfort

Red Rubber Latex Catheters

red rubber latex catheters

Also known as "red rubber" or "latex," this material is thermo-sensitive, which means it easily warms up to the surrounding temperatures to become pliable. Some people find the flexibility of red rubber latex catheters to be preference over vinyl or silicone options, while others have more difficulties with inserting it and want a firmer catheter. It's a matter of personal preference and what works best for your needs.

  • Rubber latex is most often red in color. Sometimes the appearance of the catheter may appear brown or orange.
  • All rubber latex catheters are opaque, and the funnel will not be color-coded for french size identification
  • NOT suitable for those with latex allergies or sensitivities

Silicone Catheters

silicone intermittent catheter

Silicone is one of the top materials of choice for many doctors, due to the material being highly tested and widely used over time.

  • Super smooth material
  • Flexibility lies somewhere between vinyl and rubber latex
  • May be a good choice for those with latex sensitivities or allergies, as silicone is latex-free
  • Clear to view output
  • Some brands feature a color-coded funnel for easy french size identification, while others are entirely silicone from insertion tip to funnel
  • Antibacterial catheter coating option in some brands 

Which Catheter material is right for you?

There is no one perfect choice for everyone across the board, since everyone's preferences and anatomy and needs are unique.

Take into consideration the features mentioned above, and decide with your doctor which feels the best and gives you the best performance.

As always, feel free to contact one of our Catheter Specialists, and we can help you out with finding the right urinary catheter for you!

180 medical jessAbout the Author:

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

Interstitial Cystitis Awareness and You

by Catheter Experts September 20 2013 16:23
Bladder pain can occur for a variety of reasons, but there is one condition that causes bladder pain that isn’t very well known: interstitial cystitis (commonly known as IC). September is National Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Month.  This year’s theme -- "Millions Suffer, Few Understand" -- is designed to encourage those living with IC and healthcare professionals to talk openly about the widely misunderstood condition. 

Some refer to interstitial cystitis as Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS). Interstitial cystitis can occur in men and children, but it’s far more prevalent in women.  IC affects anywhere from 4 million to 12 million Americans, and many of those people aren’t even aware that they have it.   

It can be difficult to diagnose since people can experience an array of symptoms that can be confused with other medical problems. People with IC also tend to have other health problems like pelvic floor dysfunction, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and chronic headaches.

Interstitial cystitis may be easy for some people to manage, while for others, the pain can be severe enough to be debilitating. Simple day-to-day tasks like driving and sitting can become painful, and intimacy may feel nearly impossible.

Interstitial cystitis can be treated in a variety of ways. Your doctor may prescribe medication, bladder distention therapy, or nerve stimulation. Some people with interstitial cystitis use intermittent catheters to drain urine and avoid irritating the bladder.  

There are several things you can do during the month of September to raise awareness for IC.  You could make a Facebook status or write a tweet about IC, wear a ribbon or pin, or even contact your senator or representative to ask them to support funding for interstitial cystitis and other urological problems. Regardless of what you do, make sure that you’re doing your part to raise awareness and help others with IC.