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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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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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14 dos and don'ts of self-cathing
14 Dos & Don'ts
of Self-Cathing 
catheter product gentlecath glide hydrophilic catheter

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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Easing the Transition into Self-Catheterization

by Jessica October 11 2016 18:52
easing the transition in self catheterization blog header
There are a wide variety of conditions that can potentially interfere with the ability to void one's bladder on one's own. Multiple sclerosis, urinary incontinence, dementia, and urinary retention are just a few common examples. These issues may precipitate the need for intermittent catheterization to help patients fully empty their bladders and maintain a sense of independence in their everyday lives. 

What Can Patients and Their Caregivers Do to Ease the Transition to Self-Cathing?
speaking with doctorDepending on one's individual condition and its severity, a person new to intermittent catheterization may require the help of a caregiver in order to safely self-cath. In the beginning, self-cathing may feel a little scary or seem difficult. To help ease any fears or concerns, it's important to become educated on the basics of catheterization and maintain a self-cathing schedule as recommended by one's prescribing healthcare professional. The average bladder will need to be emptied at least every five to six hours, but this is entirely dependent upon the severity of one's condition, fluid intake, etc. 

We here at 180 Medical recommend the following basics of catheterization:
  • Stay hydrated
  • Keep hands well-washed and utilize other options, such as advanced closed system catheter kits or antiseptic wipes, to reduce the chances of a UTI (urinary tract infection)
  • Use each intermittent catheter only once and then dispose of it, as this will also reduce chances of a UTI
  • Try to relax as much as possible to reduce any possible difficulties with insertion
  • Contact your doctor immediately if there are any complications

In addition to the wide variety of catheter supplies that we offer at 180 Medical, we provide our customers with as many resources as possible to ensure proper self-cathing. We encourage you to check out our Resources page for yourself or your loved one, where you can find information on how to use a catheter, the types of catheters available, and tips for reducing the risk of a urinary tract infection. 

For more information, contact us today at 1-877-688-2729.

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Advanced Catheter Requirements With Medicare

by billf July 12 2016 08:04
advanced catheter requirements for medicare blog header


My name is Bill, and I have worked for 180 Medical for over 10 years. About 28 years ago, I was involved in a motocross accident that rendered me quadriplegic. You can learn more about my story here. Over the years since then, I've been able to help and counsel others who are also dealing with life after a spinal cord injury. I am happiest when I am helping others, and these days, I spend a lot of time just talking to our customers on the phone who are new to catheterizing. 

One thing that I often talk to people about are recurring urinary tract infections (also known more commonly as UTIs). It's an unfortunate truth that self-catheterization can carry a risk of getting UTIs, even for people practicing sterile use. One upside to this is that there are advanced products which may help reduce the risk of UTIs, such as closed system catheters.

Many people who are insured by Medicare or an insurance plan that follows Medicare's guidelines may not have that as an immediate option, but if you continue to get infections while cathing with a standard straight intermittent catheter and lubrication packets while on sterile use, you do have an option to get Medicare to cover an advanced product for your needs, such as closed system catheters or hydrophilic catheters with insertion supplies

If you have been practicing sterile use with a new catheter and a new lubrication packet each time you self-catheterize, and you have experienced at least two UTIs within the last 12 months, you could possibly qualify. But it's important to have proof in the form of documentation which includes a urine culture and any corresponding symptoms that you might have experienced while you had the UTI. Let's go into these two things a little more in detail.

Cultures

The first step to take is to go to the doctor whenever you feel like you have a urinary tract infection. You will need to be able to provide them with a urine specimen so that they can do a formal culture test to determine if it is indeed a UTI. 

If it's a positive culture report, documentation must show that the urine culture has greater than 10,000 CFU (colony forming units), which is a way to show that the bacteria is present and growing at high colony counts. This counts as positive proof of a urinary tract infection.

Concurrent Symptoms

The second piece of information needed is any documentation proving that you experienced a symptom at the same time as your culture was taken. It is important that you mention to your doctor if you have one of these symptoms, and that they are documented in the progress notes.

Qualifying concurrent symptoms are listed below:
  • A fever greater than 100.4ºF or 38ºC
  • A change in urgency, increased frequency of catheterization, or incontinence
  • Increased muscle spasms
  • Systemic leukocytosis, which is an abnormal increase in the number of circulating white blood cells in the complete blood count (CBC). This can be determined through a urinalysis, which is often taken along with a culture.
  • Autonomic dysreflexia: sweating, blood pressure elevation, abnormally slow heart rate
  • Prostatitis: acute or chronic inflammation of the prostate gland
  • Epididymitis: discomfort or pain of the epididymis
  • Orchitis: inflammation of one or both of the testes, characterized by swelling and pain

Other Requirements to Be Eligible

In order to qualify and begin receiving the advanced catheter products with Medicare, you had to have been already practicing sterile use during the times you had the infections documented, while using one standard catheters along with one lubrication packet per each time you self-catheterize. 

The following practices would unfortunately make you ineligible for advanced catheters:

  • If you don't practice sterile use (using a new catheter and a new lubrication packet each time you catheterize).
  • If you use lubrication packets more than once (not considered sterile use)
  • If you use a tube of lubricant instead of a new, sterile lubrication packet each time.
Having this information before going to see your doctor should give you a leg-up in the process of getting qualified for advanced catheters that could help further reduce incidences of UTIs, if you are insured by Medicare or another insurance plan that follows Medicare requirements. 

If you have more questions about how you can qualify, please contact one of our friendly, trained specialists for more information.

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Closed System Catheters Can Help Those Adjusting to Life in a Wheelchair

by Jessica May 24 2016 21:00
Many new visitors to our website have just recently begun to transition to life in a wheelchair. Whether due to a medical condition, accident, or unexpected illness, we understand that this transition can be jarring. 

wheelchair stock

Our founder, Todd Brown, experienced this first-hand after his motocross accident, which left him paralyzed from the chest down. It took time for him to fully adjust to all the changes that came with being a new paraplegic, including struggles with frequent urinary tract infections at first. This can be common for those new to using catheters, since improper use (such as washing and reusing catheters) can lead to UTIs. 

If UTIs are something you've struggled with or want to prevent, consider the following:

1. Talk to your doctor.

Your doctor will be the best person to discuss any infections or illnesses, and they can come up with the right treatment plan based on your individual needs. 

2. Never reuse your catheters.

The FDA has determined that catheters are single-use devices, so be sure to use a catheter only once and then dispose of it, which can help you to avoid potential UTIs.

3. Make sure you're using your catheter properly.

Understanding how to properly catheterize will not only help lower the risk of UTIs, but it will also help you avoid unnecessary irritation. If you choose 180 Medical for your catheter supply needs, we can go over the process with you step-by-step, and we also provide instructional materials such as a detailed DVD and helpful booklets to provide you with the right education you need to get adjusted to your catheter insertion kit.

An important part of Todd's journey away from those frequent UTIs was learning about closed system catheters and their potential benefits for those in wheelchairs.

A closed system catheter can be a great solution for reducing the likelihood of UTIs for new catheter users. Not only does it provide everything in one easy-to-carry package, it also has specific features that can help you out with preventing UTIs as well as remaining in your wheelchair while catheterizing. 
  • Introducer Tip: This pre-lubricated tip on intermittent urinary catheters allows the users to bypass the first few millimeters of the urethra where the largest concentrations of bacteria are located.
  • Insertion Supplies: Closed system catheters often provide extra supplies that can help with the insertion process, such as sterile gloves (especially handy when cathing in public restrooms), antiseptic wipes to sterilize the area where you will insert the catheter, underpad, and more.
  • Ease of use while in a wheelchair: Because a closed system catheter is completely self-contained in a measurable bag, users can remain in their wheelchair, rather than attempt to transfer from chair to toilet every time. Also, any room that allows you privacy can become to a place to self-cath. 
180 Medical makes sure to train our staff well in order to earn the title "Specialist." That's why you can feel confident giving us a call when you're ready to begin ordering your catheter supplies. Not only do we offer helpful materials and treat you like a member of our own family, we have a few members of our staff who have personal experience adjusting to life in a wheelchair and using catheter daily. Give us a call today to see if closed system catheters could be right for you, and get one step closer to living more comfortably.

14 Dos and Don'ts of Self-Cathing

by Jessica February 25 2016 21:38
At 180 Medical, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to stay as healthy as possible, especially when it comes to your catheterization needs. If your doctor or nurse practitioner has prescribed a regimen of self-catheterization, you're not alone. Many people all over the world use catheters every day to help them empty their bladder. All it takes is a little practice. 

Here are some helpful tips:

dos and donts of self cathing

DO:

  1. Gather all your supplies before beginning.
  2. Maintain as sterile an environment for yourself as possible. If you're away from home, we know that can be a little more difficult, since you can't control how clean a public restroom is. Just be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before catheterization and/or put on gloves before beginning. You may also wish to use antiseptic wipes to clean the area before inserting the catheter. A kit of insertion supplies may further to make the procedure more sterile and prevent possible infections. washing hands
  3. Follow the schedule for self-cathing that your healthcare professional prescribed for your specific condition. Stay on the self-catheterization schedule that your healthcare professional instructed you to follow. If you miss your scheduled time, catheterize as soon as you're able to do so. 
  4. Use the right catheter product for your needs, based on your doctor's instructions. 180 Medical has a wide array of all the top brands and types of intermittent catheters, including straight, coude, hydrophilic, closed systems, pediatric, and more. Our highly-trained product specialists would love to help you find the catheter that works and feels best for you. 
  5. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fresh water is good for your urinary system and your whole body. 
  6. Make sure you are using your catheters correctly. Follow the instructions given by your healthcare professional. 180 Medical also carries helpful instructional booklets and DVDs for supplemental education. 
  7. Ask if your insurance plan covers catheter supplies. We are contracted with thousands of plans, and we can contract your insurance for you to find out what kinds of catheter products are covered and how many you could get per month for your specific needs, per your healthcare professional's recommendation. 

DON'T:

  1. Don't reuse catheters. The FDA considers intermittent catheters to be only good for a single use. Studies show that sterile use (using a catheter one time and then disposing of it) reduces risk of urinary tract infections. Most major insurance companies today cover enough catheters for sterile use, because they know that reusing catheters often leads to infections, which can end up costing insurance companies more money. 
  2. Don't use someone else's catheters. We've gotten a few questions before where someone's friend or family member no longer need to use their catheters, and they have a few leftover which they offered to give away. It's risky to use a catheter that is prescribed for someone else, because everyone's body is different. For instance, some people require a coude tip to bypass urethral strictures, when a straight tip catheter just won't do. There are different lengths and French sizes to consider as well. When in doubt, consult your healthcare professional. 
  3. Don't use petroleum jelly to lubricate your catheter. It's best to use sterile water-soluble lubrication to lessen chances of infection and make the catheterization experience more comfortable. 
  4. When using a hydrophilic catheter, don't forget to burst the water packet, which activates the bonded lubrication, making the tube slippery and ready to use. 
  5. Don't forget to bring your catheter supplies with you wherever you go. For more information on catheterizing in public restrooms, go here for a detailed blog by an actual catheter-user.
  6. Don't ignore the signs of a urinary tract infection: fever, chills, aching in the lower back, cloudy or smelly urine, and burning sensations. See your doctor to have tests run and cultures taken at the first sign, so that it can be treated properly. 
  7. Don't worry too much. Remember that many people self-cath every day. As you continue, it will get easier, and eventually you'll be a seasoned pro. 
180 Medical has provided superior service and quality catheter and ostomy supplies to customers for years. Give us a call or contact us on live chat to see why so many choose and stay with us for their much-needed supplies. 

Disclaimer: Please note that this is intended to provide a general understanding of self-catheterization. It should not be used in place of a visit, call, or consultation with a physician or other healthcare provider.


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About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 6 years and currently works as Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company! She loves writing, music, art, and & spending time with her dogs, friends & family.
 

My Personal Experience with Interstitial Cystitis

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


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

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

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

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

Common symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis

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

Personal Tips for IC

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

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

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



trish

About the Author: 

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



  

Best Practices for Self-Catheterization

by Jessica December 3 2014 17:59
Intermittent catheters are a type of medical device that can be easily used by patients or their caregivers in the comfort of your own home. However, it is technically considered an invasive device, since it enters the body to drain the bladder. Therefore, it must be used properly to be fully effective and not hurt more than it helps. For instance, UTIs (urinary tract infections) are one of the most common side effects of catheter usage, but these infections and other side effects can be avoided just by following some guidelines:


Tips for Self-Cathing

Make an appropriate selection for your needs.
There are a variety of options available, but you and your treating healthcare provider can decide together what kind of catheter may work best for you.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Size:  To minimize trauma and irritation to your urethra and to maximize urine flow, the correct French size of catheter should be used. Your doctor can work with you to determine what size is most appropriate for your body.
  • Material: Latex catheters were once the most common variety of catheter material, but as increasing numbers of people experience latex allergies, other options such as vinyl and silicone have been created to accommodate for these issues, as well as providing a slightly firmer tube for easier handling.
  • Type:  Intermittent catheters come in a variety of options. Straightcure hydrophilic catheter 180 medical catheters are affordable straight tubes that are manually lubricated and come in coude (curved) insertion tip or rounded straight tip. Your doctor can determine which type of insertion tip works best for your needs. Hydrophilic catheters come ready to lubricate via activation of sterile water, and once activated, they are super slippery for ease of insertion. Closed system catheters come in what are essentially on-the-go kits that allow for sterile and convenient cathing in places like public restrooms. These also often come with an easy introducer tip to help bypass the highest concentrations of bacteria in the first few millimeters of the urethra.

Practice proper technique.

Because a catheter is inserted into the urethra, it has the potential to introduce bacteria into the bladder. To minimize infection risks, catheter insertion should only be performed once you have been made aware of how to do so by a health care professional. Once you are home from your doctor's office, the process of self-cathing may feel a little daunting, but with 180 Medical, you have access to specialists who can walk you through it over the phone, as well as learning materials like our DVD and booklets with step-by-step instructions.


Practice proper hygiene.
Intermittent catheters are considered single-use devices, so they should be used only once and then disposed of. While cleaning and reusing catheters may seem appealing to those who are trying to save a bit on medical supply costs, this practice makes UTIs much more likely. When you use a catheter, it’s nearly impossible to get it clean again, since it’s already been inserted into the body and contaminated by bacteria.

Using catheters once, on the other hand, means you will have a more sterile experience each and every time you self-cath. The chances of bacteria being carried into your urethra on the catheter is minimized significantly. Single use of catheters is safer and recommended by medical professionals.

One of the most important things that you will learn is the necessity of a clean environment when cathing. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before starting out. You can also keep some anti-bacterial wipes on hand with you to clean the area before insertion. Other items such as disposable gloves and an underpad to lay your supplies on can be helpful as well.

A Reflection on 20 Years After Todd Brown's Spinal Cord Injury

by Jessica August 20 2014 11:43
20 years after todd brown's spinal cord injury

todd brown founder of 180 medical Today marks a full 20 years that have passed since our founder Todd Brown’s accident, which ultimately led to his idea to create 180 Medical. While it’s not an anniversary we celebrate, we want to take a moment to reflect back on the past twenty years and accentuate the positive outcome after his accident.

Many of you may know by now what an inspiring life Todd has led thus far. From an early age, he was very active and participated in various sports like basketball and track. He grew up around motorcycles. His dad was involved in a sport called motocross, which is a physically-demanding, fast-paced form of motorcycle racing on mostly off-road, closed courses.

“Me and my brother started racing from a very young age,” said Todd, recalling his passion for the sport.

Then in 1994, after graduating college and marrying his wife Annette, a tragic accident during a motocross jump left Todd with a T-7,8 spinal cord injury. He was only 25 years old, and now, he was paralyzed from the waist down. 

While in the hospital, Todd called his closest friends and family to let them know what had occurred. His wife and family rushed to be by his side, and one thing people noticed was that his indomitable spirit had not been dampened.


“He basically said, ‘Well, God put this in front of me and gave me some challenges,’ and it didn’t make a difference to him,” Randy Brown, his brother, said.


Todd knew his life would never be quite the same as it was before his motocross accident that left him paralyzed, but he was determined to persevere.

“I had a business, I had a family, and I was just trying to get out of rehab,” Todd said, recalling those difficult first few months.

Part of the difficulties he faced as a new paraplegic was nearly constant UTIs (urinary tract infections) from cleaning and reusing his red rubber catheters, as he'd been instructed to do while in rehab. The infections were negatively impacting the quality of his life, and on top of that, he had to deal with medical supply companies who didn't seem to understand his condition or care, and he had to deal with frequent trips to the doctor and constant doses of antibiotics due to his UTIs.

Feeling worn down and tired of being sick, Todd knew there had to be a better way.

Despite all of that, the drive to stay active was still inside Todd, so he began doing wheelchair races, and he participated in his first wheelchair marathon just six months after his motocross accident. One day, while attending a wheelchair race, a fellow athlete friend talked to Todd about his issues with frequent UTIs and asked if he’d ever heard of sterile-use catheterization (which is the process of 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.

Todd’s health began to improve, and he realized that, with continued use of the right equipment and the right techniques, his quality of life had done a 180 degree turn back in the right direction. 

It was not long after this that Todd decided he wanted to start a company that would be able to provide the right equipment, great service, and education to anyone who needed catheters and other supplies.

It was a leap of faith, and he and his wife didn’t have much starting out, but Todd was ready to make his dreams a reality, so they started their medical supply company out of their own garage. Todd just knew he could make a difference in others’ lives.

Over those 20 years since Todd’s accident, he has not only started 180 Medical, which is one of the fastest-growing, nationally-accredited providers of sterile use catheters and ostomy supplies, he has also accomplished much more.

180 medical oklahoma city headquarters

He and his wife are both strong advocates for adoption. He still takes times to visit spinal cord injury patients in rehab, and he will often mentor the newly injured. Even with his continually growing business, he finds time for his family and his passions, like fishing, hand-cycling, snow-skiing, and staying active in his church.

Todd’s story inspires everyone who hears it. He is a driven and kindhearted individual who turned a negative into a positive by working hard to start a successful business, and he achieved his goal of turning lives around through 180 Medical.

todd and 180 medical family



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About 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.