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Why Choice of Catheter Matters

why choice of catheter matters

Just like anything in life, the more options we have from which to choose, the more likely we will feel confident, comfortable, and content with our choice. The choice of a catheter is also incredibly important, especially since many of us who use catheters are already living with a medical condition or disability.

Having the freedom to try a variety of intermittent urinary catheter options before making a choice can make all the difference in your overall catheterization experience, including comfort, ease of use, privacy, and more.

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What the Freedom of Choice of Catheter Means to Me

My name is Meena, and I’ve been living with my spinal cord injury for over two decades. Several years ago, I also found out I have Myasthenia Gravis. So as a T12 paraplegic with an incomplete spinal cord injury, I face a lot of challenges with my overactive bladder.

Meena Dhanjal Outlaw
Meena Dhanjal Outlaw

Since I am taking a specific immunosuppressant for Myasthenia Gravis, which makes my bladder contract, the overactive bladder medicine that I have taken for years no longer works. In addition, I can’t take many current drugs on the market, including most antibiotics. This means I’m even more susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTIs) because I have to cath around every hour.

Plus, since I’m in a wheelchair, I need to consider how much I can carry with me when I’m out and about. Instead of big bags and backpacks, I like to use an over-the-shoulder messenger style bag. So I need something a little more discreet.

You can imagine just how grateful I was and still am to 180 Medical when their Product Specialists let me know that my current health insurance carrier will pay for closed system catheter kits because of my recurring urinary tract infections.

Want to find out what catheter options are available to you based on your health insurance plan’s coverage? Get started by verifying your insurance. 

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Finding the Catheter That Worked Best For Me

I’ve used a few different intermittent catheters over the years, although switching to closed system catheters was a game-changer for me.

Most recently, 180 Medical helped me find something that would work better for me on days when my Myasthenia Gravis decides to rear its ugly head and cause flare-ups. These flare-ups cause the muscles in my fingers to become weaker, and I need something that’s sturdy but easy to grab and handle.

I tried a sample of the MTG Jiffy Cath Mini Pak a few years ago, which was similar to the closed system I had been using except it comes in a package half its size! Now I can slip my Mini Pak catheter into a small clutch bag, wristlet, purse, or evening bag, so it’s perfect for my lifestyle. I can tuck a few discreetly in my car too, just in case I forget to take enough when I leave my home.

MTG Jiffy Cath Mini Pak Catheter

Plus, there’s a bonus. The MTG Jiffy Cath Mini Pak comes with a disposable bag. That means after I use it, everything goes inside that bag. Then I just toss it away discreetly. It’s simple, clean, and easy!

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Additional tip: I always carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer. I just cannot take the chance of having a bladder infection, especially when my options to kill the infection are limited.

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Catheter

Customizing your catheter supply order to your individual needs is important because we are not all the same. So when it comes to finding, trying, and choosing a urinary catheter, there are a lot of different factors to consider. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Right Size and Length For Your Body

First and foremost, you need to see your doctor or urologist. They can make a proper assessment about the diameter of your urethra and what French size of catheter you will likely need, which can impact the efficiency of urine flow through the tube as well as overall comfort when cathing.

catheter length comparisons

The length of the tube should also be considered to fit your anatomy. For example, male anatomies typically require male length catheters, which are around 16 inches. Female length catheters are usually 6 to 8 inches on average because the female urethra is shorter. Pediatric length catheters, which are for children and adolescents, are around 10 inches.

Daily Lifestyle and Activity Level

In addition to the above considerations, you’ll want to choose a catheter that will work well for your lifestyle, activity level, and daily needs.

For example, do you travel a lot? Do you need something discreet for going to school or work? You might want to explore discreet catheter options, such as pocket catheters, which are also known as compact catheters.

Your Mobility and Dexterity

Are you in a wheelchair? Many people in wheelchairs prefer closed system catheters because they are more convenient. With an integrated collection bag, you don’t even need to transfer to a toilet if you don’t want to.

Do you have difficulty with hand or finger function? 180 Medical carries catheters for people with limited hand dexterity, such as the Cure Dextra and the MTG EZ-Gripper.

 Urinary Tract Infections and Other Safety Considerations

Will you have easy access to clean water and soap when it’s time to cath? Do you need a touch-free catheter to maintain sterility if you’re in environments away from home when you cath? Or are you susceptible to bladder infections or urinary tract infections?

If so, you might want to learn more about no-touch catheters, which can help reduce your risk of urinary tract infections by minimizing direct hand contact with the catheter tube.

If you’re using an uncoated catheter, make sure you’re using adequate sterile lubricating jelly. Also, make sure to practice sterile intermittent catheterization without reusing.

The Choice is Clear For Your Catheter Supply Needs

As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider. That’s why your individual needs as a unique person should play a role in the choice of catheter supplies.

With so many product choices available at 180 Medical, you’re likely going to find something that fits you just right. Plus, you won’t be alone and left to wade through all the many options out there.

180 Medical has a friendly staff of product experts who will take the time to listen to your needs and consider every preference. Then they’ll help you navigate your product options based on your health insurance coverage and prescription.

Concerned about your privacy? Everything you discuss with 180 Medical is private and confidential. Also, you can have your catheter supplies delivered discreetly to your home.

Select the right catheter for you so you can reduce your worries and spend your time doing things you love. Reach out to 180 Medical to get started!

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About the Author
Why Choice of Catheter Matters
On January 23, 2000, Meena suffered a spinal cord injury that left her a T12 paraplegic. She worked hard to grow and push past adversity and challenges, and even went back to school for a four-year diploma in writing for teenagers and children.

Since then, she has begun writing memoirs, blogs, and a book series featuring a young girl named Mattie who is in a wheelchair. She has been featured in magazines, fashion shows, radio shows, and on local news to speak about her life as a disabled woman, wife, and mother. Through her work, she hopes to inspire others with disabilities.