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3 Tips to Prevent Stress Incontinence During Physical Activity

by Jessica May 17 2018 05:55
3 tips to prevent stress incontinence during exercise

May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month, and now that the weather is warmer, many of us are ready to get active. You may feel like taking a walk or a roll in the park, participating in some adaptive sports with a team, or even competing in races for one of your favorite non-profit organizations or charities.

However, if you are one of the millions of people in America who live with urinary stress incontinence, your concerns about possible leakage or having an "accident" may be holding you back from taking part in your favorite physical activities.

lacing up for a runAt 180 Medical, we understand these fears and concerns. Every day, we talk to many customers who have urinary incontinence. We don't want anyone kept back from living a happy, independent, and active life if they are able, so we'd like to offer you some tips on how you may be able to prevent stress incontinence.

But first, let's talk a little bit more about stress incontinence and what causes it.


What is Stress Incontinence?

Stress incontinence is a type of urinary incontinence partial or complete loss of control over your bladder.

Most people who struggle with urinary incontinence experience involuntary release of urine from the bladder, often without warning.

With stress incontinence, urine loss may not be as severe, but it may occur more often during exercise, especially during activities that may increase pressure in your lower abdominal area. For this reason, you may also find you're experiencing some dribbling or leakage when you sneeze, cough, lift something, or laugh.

There are a few potential incontinence risk factors to know:

  • Age: Incontinence isn't something that happens to everyone as they grow older. It can affect anyone at any age, but it does tend to occur more frequently However, it does occur more often with increased age.
  • Gender: Although stress incontinence can happen to anyone, women tend to be a little more likely to experience this form of urinary incontinence than men. Female stress incontinence may be due in part to hormonal changes over one's lifetime, as well as the stretching of pelvic floor muscles during and after pregnancy or menopause.
  • Weight: Those living with a BMI above the recommended range may experience stress incontinence more frequently due to extra pressure on the internal organs, including the bladder.

losing weight to manage incontinence


Tips to Manage Stress Incontinence

1. Make Kegels a part of your daily exercise goals.

Many doctors recommend that their patients who live with stress incontinence start to focus on exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises may be suggested to help manage your urinary incontinence issues.

Your pelvic floor muscles are partly responsible for helping your bladder hold onto urine until you're ready to go. If these muscles are strengthened, it's more likely that you'll have better control over your bladder's function, depending on the reason for your condition.

Ask your doctor about pelvic floor exercises like Kegels and whether this may be a good option for your individual situation.


2. Avoid diuretic drinks.

caffeine coffee is a diureticAlcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks like coffee, soda, and tea are common culprits that can overstimulate the bladder. Diuretics dehydrate you and make your body lose more fluid, which in turn will make you need to use the restroom more often. This may cause more incidences of incontinence than if you consume fluids like water, juice, or other healthy and decaffeinated drinks.

Talk to your prescribing healthcare professional about how much fluid intake is right for your needs.


3. Drop excess weight.

Since extra weight, particularly in the abdominal region, can press on your bladder and cause leakage, it may be a good idea to lose weight to help reduce the occurrence of stress incontinence "accidents."

On top of that, fine-tuning your daily diet and exercising more often can improve your overall well-being and make it easier to enjoy the physical activities that you love. 

Consult with your doctor about whether you should lose any weight for your health. They can also discuss what could be the most efficient and healthiest way to lose weight for you.


Other Treatment Options for Incontinence

older couple walkingIf you have stress incontinence or any other symptoms of abnormal bladder function, please make an appointment to speak with your doctor. The sooner you can get your condition diagnosed, the sooner you can begin a treatment plan and get back to your normal life and favorite physical activities. 

In addition to treatment options such as lifestyle changes and prescription medication, your doctor might recommend the use of incontinence products like padded undergarments or external catheters.

It's possible that your doctor may also recommend that you begin draining your bladder with a urinary catheter to avoid leaking and dribbling and treat your incontinence issues. While this may sound intimidating at first, many people who live with urinary incontinence use intermittent catheter supplies every day and are able to participate in many of the same physical activities and sports that they enjoy. Even traveling with intermittent catheters can be a breeze once you get into a routine.

Has your doctor recommended that you start to use intermittent catheters as part of your individualized treatment plan? You may be asking yourself, "Where can I buy catheters?"

With over a decade of experience in specializing in intermittent catheter supplies, 180 Medical can provide you with the best quality intermittent catheters along with the best customer service in the business.

Contact us today!

Disclaimer: Please note that this is intended to provide a general understanding of stress incontinence and potential options for treatment. This information should not be used in place of the recommendations and treatment plan of your prescribing healthcare provider.



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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

   

INGREDIENTS:

  • 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


INSTRUCTIONS:

  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.

OKASA Adaptive Sports & Wheelchair Basketball

by Jessica May 4 2018 08:15
okasa adaptive sports wheelchair basketball

Adaptive sports create opportunities for physically challenged and disabled people of all ages to be able to participate in recreational and team-based activities, including wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, martial arts and more. We have witnessed first-hand how lives can be positively impacted by getting to take part in adaptive sports like this, whether after a spinal cord injury or a lifetime with a medical condition that limits mobility. 

This is a huge reason why we always jump at the chance to be a part of the OU Medicine Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, which benefits a local adaptive sports organization known as Oklahoma Adaptive Sports Association (OKASA). This tournament is one of our favorite events to attend and sponsor, and 2018 marked the 10th anniversary of this awesome event.

Find out more about the tournament this year as well as the importance of OKASA's role in the local community, and how you can find an adaptive sports organization near you!


okc wheels of thunder and 180 medical team


OU Medicine Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

Each year, doctors, nurses, and other medical staff from OU Medicine team up to take on Oklahoma Adaptive Sports Association's (OKASA) wheelchair basketball team, the Wheels of Thunder (formerly known as the Blaze). These hardworking, compassionate people play an integral role in setting up and rolling this tournament forward in order to support OKASA, and we at 180 Medical are so proud and honored to be able to help sponsor this event annually too.

180 medical cheering wheels of thunder180 Medical employees are always excited to be able to bring their families and friends to watch the games at Oklahoma City University's (OCU) Freede Wellness Center after work. In addition to making fun signs and collecting gift cards for a donation basket for the event's silent auction, we were glad to volunteer time at the popcorn booth to help raise even more funds for OKASA and cheer all of the teams on as the Oklahoma City Thunder drummers played.

Of course, this awesome team always manages to beat our team of 180 Medical employees, along with just about everyone else that plays against them.

In fact, their team members are all so skilled that they recently competed in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association's (NWBA) national junior varsity championship. With their immense talent on the court and a passion for the sport, we suspect they'll move forward to qualify again next year as well. 


okasa wheels of thunder wheelchair basketball teamOklahoma City Thunder Drummers with the team (Wheels of Thunder)



All About OKASA

playing adaptive wheelchair basketballOKASA is a fantastic organization in Oklahoma that works to support both kids and adults who live with physical disabilities such as spina bifida, spinal cord injuries, and more.

OKASA exists to promote opportunities for health and fitness for the disabled through adaptive sporting options like wheelchair basketball. 

Many of their activities offered include:

  • Racing
  • Competitive weight-lifting
  • Water sports (swimming, kayaking, etc.)
  • Track & Field
  • and more!
Physical activity through organizations like OKASA promotes better health, confidence, and improved overall well-being of the disabled or physically challenged. Adaptive sports participation can also help the physically disabled or spinal cord injured people enjoy many of the activities they loved before their injuries or have always wanted to try. 

For many, participation through adaptive sports is a way for people to make new lifelong friendships with others who understand their conditions on a personal level. 


baseball best friends


Because of this and more, the annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament is not only one of the funnest events of the year for 180 Medical, it's also an important cause close to our hearts.

We truly feel blessed to be able to help contribute to funding for new equipment and opportunities for OKASA and all of their athletes.



How to Find An Adaptive Sports Organization in Your Area

Are you seeking a way to get started with some adaptive sports and activities?

OKASA is a member of the following organizations, and these links may be a great place to start:


You can also go to this link to find local adaptive sports opportunities and clubs, thanks to U.S. Paralympics.

Find out more about OKASA's mission and their programs or discover ways to help out at okasa.org.




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About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for nearly 9 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company.

Top 5 Ways to Make Cathing Less Painful

by Jessica April 27 2018 01:48
top 5 ways to make cathing less painful

Have you just been told you need to start using intermittent catheters, and now you're wondering how bad a catheter will hurt?

Or have you been self-cathing for a while but still find the catheterization process painful or just plain uncomfortable?

male catheter insertion painWhatever your reason for seeking help with catheter pain, know that there are many people who use catheters painlessly every day to treat their medical conditions like bladder retention or urinary incontinence, and that's a possibility for you too!

Of course, if you ever experience an abnormal amount of pain or bleeding during insertion, or if you encounter a blockage, it's important to never force your catheter. We suggest you discuss these issues with your treating healthcare professional as soon as possible. 

However, sometimes it's simply a matter of finding the right urinary catheter product that will work best for your individual needs.

Find out some of the top solutions to make cathing smooth, comfortable, and practically pain-free!

Top 5 Ways to Make Using a Catheter Hurt Less


1. Use an Intermittent Catheter With Polished or Recessed Eyelets.


catheter drainage eyeletsDrainage eyelets are the small holes near the insertion tip of your urinary catheter. Your urine drains through these holes, into the catheter tube, and out the end into your chosen receptacle like a toilet, urinal, or an attached collection bag.

Some catheter manufacturers use a process similar to punching a hole in a sheet of paper to create their catheter eyelets. This can result in rough eyelet edges that create drag and discomfort as the catheter is inserted and taken back out.

Fortunately, there are plenty of catheter options with smooth, polished eyelets, and these can greatly reduce friction on your delicate urethral tissue.

gentlecath cathetersOne catheter brand to consider is GentleCath™. GentleCath™ catheters are designed with recessed, polished drainage eyelets on a smooth, rounded insertion tip for maximum comfort and reduced urethral trauma.

If the catheter type you're currently using has any rough edges around the eyelets, this could very well be the source of your discomfort. 



2. Use lubrication with your uncoated catheters.

When using straight intermittent catheters, it's important to make sure you're manually lubricating them before each use. Lubrication will reduce friction and discomfort as your catheter passes through the urethra to your bladder. 

Of course, every person and each anatomy is different, so while some people don't need as much lubricating jelly, others may need more in order to have a truly comfortable catheterization. 

As the leading provider of intermittent catheters and related urological products, 180 Medical carries many high-quality and reputable brands of lubricating jelly to suit your needs, including bacteriostatic and kosher options. Whether you prefer your catheter lubrication in a tube or perfectly dosed single-use packets, we can supply it.



3. Issues getting the catheter to insert? You may need a coudé tip catheter.

gentlecath coude catheterWhy are coudé catheters necessary? This sort of curved insertion tip is only needed when straight tip catheters will not work.

This is usually due to medical conditions like urethral strictures or an enlarged prostate, which can make it difficult and even impossible for a straight tip catheter to bypass and navigate around to reach the bladder.

If you feel you're encountering a blockage or obstacle while trying to get your catheter fully inserted, it's best to speak to your urologist immediately so they can fully diagnose the problem and discuss whether you need a coudé tip catheter.



4. Are you experiencing itchiness or irritation after using a latex catheter? You may have a latex allergy.

Less than 1% of people in the US have a latex allergy. However, it is more common in people with certain medical conditions like spina bifida. Latex allergy development has also been associated with people who use latex urinary catheters.

If you suspect this may be the issue, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

180 Medical is sensitive to our customers' concerns and needs, so we make it a point to stock an incredibly wide variety of latex-free catheter products. For those who prefer the softness and flexibility of red rubber latex catheters, there are many options we have available to try out, including soft catheters and silicone catheters.



5. Switch to a more advanced and modern catheter product.

Catheter technology continues to move forward, and many manufacturers are developing their urethral catheter products to be more efficient, comfortable, discreet, and convenient. 

If you've been using one type of catheter for many years, you may be happy to hear that there are all kinds of catheter options available on the market that may reduce urethral pain.

There are additional benefits of using advanced catheter products like hydrophilic catheters, closed system catheters, pre-lubricated catheters, and compact pocket catheters, such as potentially minimizing the risk of UTIs (urinary tract infections).

Just a few of the many advanced technology catheters that 180 Medical has in stock include:


SpeediCath® Compact Set
Available in Male Length or Female Length

speedicath compact set for men
Not only is this closed system catheter small and discreet for easy carrying, it is ready to use as soon as you open it. The catheter's hydrophilic coating is pre-activated since it is housed inside its own sterile saline solution. The lubrication will be smooth and comfortable throughout catheterization. An additional bonus of the SpeediCath® Compact Set is that the catheter comes with its own collection bag, making this a great option for those who want a more comfortable catheter that's also great for travel and use in public restrooms.

gentlecath glide hydrophilic catheter
GentleCath™ Glide Hydrophilic Catheter

Available in Male Length or Female Length


The GentleCath™ Glide is one of the newer catheter products on the market that is quickly becoming a popular option for those who want a hydrophilic catheter that is easy to use, potentially minimizes the risk of UTIs, and makes cathing super smooth and comfortable from the moment you insert the catheter until you withdraw it. Just pop the included water sachet to activate its low-friction hydrophilic coating featuring FeelClean™ technology, and it's ready to go!


LoFric Origo™ Hydrophilic Catheter
Available in Male Length, Pediatric Length, and with Coudé Tip

lofric origo hydrophilic catheter
The LoFric Origo™ has a hydrophilic coating with Urotonic™ surface technology that is activated by its own included sterile saline solution. Just as its name suggests, this catheter offers you an ultra low-friction cathing experience. An additional bonus is that the packaging is foldable and discreet, and it also doubles as a disposal bag for maximum privacy once you've finished cathing.



Still Experiencing Catheter Pain?

For first-time users, there may be some slight discomfort at first as your body adjusts to this new process of catheterization. However, if you continue feeling pain when cathing or if it even hurts too much to self-cath, please talk to your doctor before trying any other solutions on your own. 

There may be underlying medical conditions if these suggestions don't help alleviate your catheter pain. We suggest speaking with your urologist to pinpoint the issue and to come up with a solution together that will work best for your needs. 

If you need any help finding a catheter that may help reduce your discomfort during cathing, contact our specialists today!



Disclaimer: This blog is not to be taken as medical advice and is only intended to provide a general understanding of some of the product options that may reduce discomfort during intermittent catheterization. This information should not be used in place of any recommendations, prescribed treatment plans, or medical advice from your professional healthcare provider.



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About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for nearly 9 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company.

Heidi Overcame Hurdles to Advocate for Those with Disabilities

by Jessica April 20 2018 06:25
meet heidi scholarship recipient 180 medical

Last fall, we were excited to announce the 2017 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients. All of the applicants' essays were incredibly moving, and our seven finalists were certainly no exception!

Take a moment to get to know our previously featured recipients: 
MeghaFrankChelseaJoseph, and Elizabeth.

Today, we'd love for you to meet Heidi!


180 medical scholarship recipient heidi 2017 quote


Educating & Advocating for the Disabled

While Heidi goes to school to further her education, she works as an Adult Basic Educator and helps adults improve their basic skills in math, reading, and even with American Sign Language.

As a deaf and disabled woman who is a Disabilities Advocate, Heidi also has the amazing opportunity to help adults and children living with disabilities. She uses dolls that have been fitted with MIC-KEY buttons (a low-profile feeding tube) and colostomy stomas in order to help familiarize children who may be new to living with a feeding tube or an ostomy.

But if you had asked her twenty years ago what she would be doing with her life, she would never have imagined that things would turn out quite the way they have.


heidi and ostomy dolls for childrenHeidi with some of the educational tools and dolls that she uses to help familiarize children with their condition and normalize living with an ostomy and/or a feeding tube 


Unexpected Illness & Loss Changed Everything

Before Heidi got started on her current career path, she earned degrees in Nursing as well as Music Education. For many years, she worked as a Developmental Nurse Educator.

helping disabled kidsHeidi says, "I provided families with the tools necessary to gently shape their precious children's global development, while also sharing in the celebration of successes, comforting them in times of grief, acknowledging their fears, validating their hopes, and empowering them to advocate for their children." Her profession, at the time, truly fed her soul and allowed her to use her experiences, education, and gifts in helping others.

But then, everything changed. Originally, Heidi had been diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) for many years. Then she found out that the original diagnosis was incorrect; she had inherited Mitochondrial Myopathy. 

Mitochondrial Myopathy, according to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, affects the cells of the body and can cause "both muscular and neurological effects" like:

  • Weakened muscles
  • Hearing loss / deafness
  • Balance issues
  • Seizures
  • Learning deficits
Around this time, her youngest child tragically passed away due to a severe neurological disease. Then she had to battle a form of drug-resistant pneumonia that caused multiple complications for Heidi. The worst was anticipated, and she was put into hospice care. 

However, Heidi says, "I had more work to do."


Using Her Experience to Help Others

sign language heartTo everyone's astonishment, including her doctors, Heidi worked hard to get her strength back. She made it through her illness and eventually returned to school to major in Deaf Studies. 

It wasn't long after this that she began her role as an Adult Basic Educator and tutored students who were "disadvantaged by disability, poverty, and inadequate social and educational support." 

Today, Heidi is working toward earning her Master's degree in Higher Education, and she hopes to create a more accessible educational program for these students. 

It's truly amazing to see someone who has gone through so much and is still so eager to keep moving forward and aid other people in need of a helping hand.

We wish Heidi the best of luck and blessings as she moves forward with her career plans and continues to use her personal experience to comfort those living with disabilities or families dealing with losses of their own. 


About the 180 Medical Scholarship

We understand that college isn't easy to afford for many students, and it can be especially difficult for those living with conditions like spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, neurogenic bladder, and/or an ostomy (ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy). That's why 180 Medical established a scholarship program to help those students who are determined to keep working hard to achieving their goals and dreams.

Currently through June 1, 2018, 180 Medical is accepting applications for our 2018 scholarship program. You can find full information, eligibility requirements, and download an application at www.180medical.com/scholarships.


180 medical scholarship program for ostomy sci spina bifida



About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.


 

The Number One Reason Why You Shouldn't Reuse Your Catheters

by Jessica April 11 2018 05:29
why you should not reuse your catheters

Have you ever wondered whether you should throw away your intermittent catheters after you use them once? If so, you're not the only one.

At 180 Medical, we occasionally hear from people who have been told that it's safe or economical to reuse their intermittent catheters. However, there's a very good reason why you may not want to risk washing and reusing your catheters!


The Surprise Risk of Reusing Catheters

UTIs (urinary tract infections) are a fairly common but painful ailment, and reusing catheters actually increases the risk of contracting this type of infection.

urinary tract infection medicationMultiple tests in professional research settings have indicated that there is a risk of contracting UTIs when reusing catheters even if the intermittent catheters are cleaned between uses.

In one laboratory test using PVC urethral catheters, it was found that a full antibacterial washing method still failed to sanitize 67% of the catheters.

No matter what your method of cleaning a catheter may be, pathogens and organisms, including E. coli, are often left behind in the tube and on its surface, and these can cause infections and illness. 

do not reuse catheters symbolThe FDA recommends that intermittent catheters be considered single use devices only. This is why you will see a small symbol that looks like a 2 with a slash over it (pictured to the right) printed on every catheter package. You can find out all about the rest of the symbols of your catheter's packaging and what they mean in this helpful blog

According to researchers at UBC (University of British Columbia), the idea that you can reuse your catheter without risk to your health is simply not true. A Vancouver clinician and professor of medicine at UBC, Dr. Andrei Krassioukov, pointed to his experience working at the Summer Paralympics in London. He found that the athletes who used their intermittent catheters once and then properly disposed of them experienced 3 to 4 times fewer UTIs than athletes who reused their catheters.


reusing catheters vs single use quote


Urinary Tract Infections From Reusing Catheters

If you've ever experienced a UTI, you already know how painful and uncomfortable this type of infection can be. Usually, this type of infection must be treated with a round of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor or other healthcare professional.

UTIs lead to over 7 million physician visits each year, according to a recently published study, and the financial costs associated with UTIs in the United States alone total around $1.6 billion dollars annually.

Some of the most common symptoms of UTIS include:
  • Smelly, cloudy, or bloody urine
  • Chills
  • Pain in the abdomen and back or pain when urinating
  • Burning sensation in the urethra
  • Increased need to go to the restroom
  • Urinary incontinence (inability to hold back your urine)
emergency roomIf you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to schedule a visit with your doctor as soon as possible so you can be treated before the symptoms progress.

When UTIs go untreated, the infection may spread upwards to the bladder and even into the kidneys.

Kidney infections can be dangerous to the point of life-threatening symptoms that may require a trip to the emergency room and hospitalization.

This is why it's so crucial to not only treat UTIs as soon as possible, but also to do all you can in practicing proper cathing hygiene to decrease your risk of infection.


UTI Prevention is Important

180 medical founder todd brownAt 180 Medical, we do all we can to make sure our customers are informed of their product options as well as the potential risks of reusing catheters.

In fact, 180 Medical's founder Todd Brown has personal experience with the pitfalls of reusing intermittent catheters. After Todd's spinal cord injury, he washed and reused his intermittent catheters, but he kept getting recurrent UTIs that dragged down his health and energy levels. This was all while he was trying to get back to a normal life after rehabilitation therapy. 

Thanks to some friends he met in the wheelchair racing community, Todd learned about sterile use (also called single use), which is the practice of using a catheter once and then disposing of it. He was also introduced to the world of advanced catheter products that are designed to reduce the risk of UTIs, like closed system catheters.

The recurrent UTIs that had plagued him went away, and Todd felt like his quality of life had taken a 180 degree turn.

180 medical customer serviceThis all led to Todd's decision to create 180 Medical. He wanted to be able to turn other's lives around too. 

Today, Todd's experience still guides us in all we do to provide our customers with high-quality, affordable urethral catheter products

We understand that the process of ordering intermittent catheters can be daunting. Our trained Catheter Specialists will gladly listen to your needs, preferences, and budgetary concerns.

We provide full information on all of the types of catheters available on the market as well as helpful instructional guides on how to self-cath.

When you order through 180 Medical, we handle all the work in contacting your doctor for any necessary documentation that your insurance plan may require, and we even offer free shipping to get your order right to your door. 

Contact us today to find the right catheter for you and start turning your life around!


Disclaimer: Please note that this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is only intended to provide a general understanding of the potential risks of reusing catheters according to research. This information should not be used in place of the recommendations and medical advice of your professional healthcare provider.


Sources: Kathleen Christison, Walter Matthias, Jean-Jacques J.M. Wyndaele, Michael Kennelly, Thomas M. Kessler, Vanessa K. Noonan, Fallah Nader, and Andrei V. Krassioukov. Journal of Neurotrauma. Apr 2018.

FME Wagenlehner, MD, PhD; KG Naber, MD, PhD. Urinary Tract Infections - General. www.antimicrobe.org



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About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for nearly 9 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company.

MTG Eagle Board for Quadriplegic Self-Catheterizing

by Mason April 6 2018 05:37
mtg eagle board for quadriplegic self catheterization

My name is Mason Ellis. I was involved in a car accident during my senior year of high school, which rendered me quadriplegic with a C5 spinal cord injury. You can read more about my story here. Since then, I have been actively working on beating my spinal cord injury every day.

It's my goal to use my experience to help and inspire others. I like to peer mentor and volunteer when I can, and one of my primary ways of reaching out to others with spinal cord injuries is through my YouTube channel.  My wide variety of original videos include educational information about quadriplegia, including what tenodesis is and why quadriplegics sometimes experience spasms, as well as helpful how-to videos like dressing yourself as a quadriplegic.


mason ellis


Self-Cathing After a Spinal Cord Injury

After a spinal cord injury, catheterizing may be a necessity, depending on your level of injury. Using intermittent catheters can keep your bladder from over-filling and prevent leakage. However, self-cathing can be difficult if you are a quadriplegic with poor hand dexterity. 

When I was first injured as a C5 quadriplegic, I was unable to self-cath until about a year after my injury. That's when 180 Medical introduced me to the MTG EZ-Gripper® closed system catheter. 

Another helpful product I recently discovered that can help quadriplegics and others with limited hand dexterity with the process of catheterization is the MTG Eagle™ Board. The Eagle™ Board, manufactured by MTG (Medical Technologies of Georgia), was created to help catheter-users with low or limited dexterity perform self-catheterization on their own.

This adaptive cathing board, pictured below, is designed to be used with the MTG EZ-Gripper® closed system catheter and works to help with inserting your catheter into the bladder. 


mtg eagle board pictured with ez gripper catheter


MTG Eagle™ Board's Features

The MTG Eagle™ Board has many features that can help male catheter-users who live with poor hand dexterity, whether due to a spinal cord injury or another condition like transverse myelitis or spina bifida.

The MTG Eagle™ Board's unique features include:

Repositionable "Wings"
The adjustable wings on the bottom of the Eagle Board allow it to rest comfortably between your thighs at just the right angle so your urine will flow easily into your closed system catheter bag.

mtg eagle board on catheter user's lapPants Hook
The adjustable pants hook holds your pants down for you, which frees your hands and makes catheterizing much easier.

Thumb Holes
There are two thumb or finger holes near the top of the Eagle Board that allow you to easily maneuver it between your legs or pick it up with minimal effort.

Housing Clip
The housing clip works to lock the catheter down to the Eagle Board securely, leaving your hands free. 

Penile Lever
The magnetic penile lever sets the penis in place for inserting the catheter tube. 

Foam Pads
The foam pads are used to keep soft contact against your skin and can be adjusted for different body types and even replaced if worn down after many uses.

Allen Screws
The Allen screws are used to tighten the adjustable wings, which keeps the board at the proper angle for inserting the catheter tube. 

Latex-Free
Convenient for those with latex allergies. 

Convenient Size & Design
The Eagle Board is also small and compact enough that you can carry it in a backpack or briefcase with ease wherever you go. If you get it dirty, it's easy to wash off and dry or wipe down with an antibacterial wipe, so you can reuse it every time you self-cath.


mtg eagle board for self cathing


How to Use the MTG Eagle™ Board

Take a look at my full video explaining how to use the MTG Eagle™ Board to get closer look at the size and shape of this helpful adaptive cathing accessory. I discuss and point out each of its features and give you a step-by-step tutorial of how to use the Eagle™ Board as a part of your cathing routine. 



Once you adjust the wings for the proper angle and attach the MTG EZ-Gripper® catheter, supplied by 180 Medical, press down on the blue handle (gripper) on the catheter tube and move your hand toward yourself to insert the tube into your urethra until it reaches the bladder and your urine starts to flow into the bag. I also have a video showing how to use the MTG EZ-Gripper®, if you'd like to learn more about this particular closed system catheter.

I have found that the MTG Eagle™ Board allows for easy catheter insertion because it provides a flat surface to press the catheter against.

180 medical catheterization instructional materials dvd and bookletIf you are newly injured or cannot self-catheterize due to limited hand dexterity, the MTG Eagle™ Board may be a great place to start in order to gain back some of your independence and health! The Eagle™ Board Kit from MTG includes the board, a penile sizing guide, additional foam pads, an Allen wrench, and a carry bag for your convenience.

For more information about how to cath, 180 Medical's catheter specialists are ready to help you find the right catheter for your needs and can walk you through the catheterization process, step by step. They also provide handy cathing instructions online for men, women, and children, and they can put an instructional DVD and full-color booklet in your order as well.

All pictures of the MTG Eagle™ Board have been provided courtesy of MTG. You can find more information about this product at their website.



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About the Author:

mason ellis 180 medical blog authorMason Ellis was injured in a car accident on January 19, 2015, which left him with a traumatic brain injury, several broken bones included his jaws, the top six front teeth, and his collarbone. He is now a C5/6/7 quadriplegic paralyzed from the neck down. Since his accident, he has connected with others with spinal cord injuries, family members, friends, and caregivers of someone with a spinal cord injury, therapists and doctors, and able-bodied individuals too. Every day, he refuses to let his spinal cord injury defeat him. His motto is to "live life just like I would've able-bodied." 

You can learn more about Mason in his 180 Medical blog feature, or connect with him and others living with spinal cord injuries on his Facebook page or by subscribing to his YouTube Channel.

Verifications Specialist Employee Spotlight: Meet Summer

by Jessica March 28 2018 04:00
180 medical employee spotlight on summer verifications specialist

180 Medical is a leading supplier in the nation for intermittent catheters and ostomy products. We make it a goal to staff our company with people who truly want to help people and make a difference. 180 Medical is a rewarding workplace for our employees, for many reasons, including competitive benefits, full training to earn the title of a specialist, as well as opportunities for growth and learning within the company.

There are also many fun extras and perks throughout the year that make 180 Medical such a fun place to be every weekday, including our annual Thunder Up decorating contest to show our support for our local NBA Team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, as well as plenty of opportunities to support our community in events like the annual MS Walk. In fact, we've been named one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma for 8 years as of 2017. 

We're happy to feature one of our employees who has been with us for two and a half years and currently works as a Verifications Specialist. 

Summer's Team Supervisor, Sarah, says, "Summer is the glue that binds our team together. Her outgoing personality and positive attitude brighten the atmosphere in our department. From her very first day as a Verifications Specialist, she has been 100% committed to doing her best every single day. Her passion to help others is evident in all that she does. We are truly lucky to have her on our team!" 


Summer, congratulations on nearing your 3rd anniversary with our company! What do you feel is the best part of working at 180 Medical?

So many things! Getting to help people on a daily basis is the most rewarding thing, definitely. Also, I genuinely enjoy what I do. I have some independence and get to work without being micromanaged. It feels so good to be given the trust and capability to get our customers taken care of!

Another plus is that I have made some great friends in my co-workers!

I also love our Halloween celebrations. Dressing up in costume for the day at work and getting to take part in our annual pumpkin carving contest is so much fun. One year, we made our hallway a haunted house. We had such a blast decorating it for the yearly contest!


halloween costume contest at 180 medical


Describe your typical day of work as a Verifications Specialist.

It varies from day to day, although the majority of my duties revolve of around verifying insurance for our Medicaid and Medicare customers. I also confirm monthly orders of our customers' catheter supplies and ostomy supplies. Sometimes, I get to be an advocate for our customers and educate them on how receiving home health services may affect their regular orders if they have Medicare.


What do you like to do in your downtime outside of work?


180 medical employee petAfter work, I like to wind down by cooking a nice dinner at least three times a week, going out with my guy, or watching horror flicks with my dog, Coffee. Probably my favorite place to be in the world is with my boyfriend, Andy, and his daughter, Sophia. We just love to play and make each other laugh.

Some of my favorite hobbies include collecting horror memorabilia and attending concerts, movies, and live shows. I'm a big fan of brunch, so I love going to local restaurants in Oklahoma City like Cafe Cacao and Sunnyside.

I'm very passionate about volunteering to help others in need. It just feels good to help. Some of my favorite charities are Americorps, the Humane Society, and Habitat for Humanity.



180 medical employee quote about volunteering


How has working at 180 Medical helped with your professional development?

summer 180 medical employeeWhen I first started at 180 Medical, I was hired on as a Billing Specialist. I'm really proud of being chosen among the applicants to further my knowledge and increase my work experience as a Verifications Specialist. 180 Medical has been such an integral part of my career development, because I've learned so many new skills along the way. Being a part of our awesome Billing department has been a big asset to my current position, because it taught me how to handle calls, and it also honed my eye for detail, which is important as a Verifications Specialist.

Overall, this company has been so wonderful. 180 Medical has taught me that hard work, integrity, and compassion really does pay off. 



And finally, what advice would you give to someone who is thinking about applying for a job with 180 Medical? 

Don't worry. Just do it! If you're empathetic and you care about helping people, this is the place for you.


Summer, thanks so much for all you do! You're an indispensable part of our team!


If you want to love what you do and work at a place where you are a valued employee, check out our currently available positions and apply today!

180 medical is hiring


180 medical jessAbout the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares for its employees and customers.

 

The Connection Between Crohn's Disease & Kidney Stones

by Jessica March 21 2018 06:38
crohn's disease and kidney stones connection


If you have Crohn's Disease, you probably already know this particular form of inflammatory bowel disease can produce many different side effects ranging from mild to severe as well as other accompanying medical conditions. 

What many people may not realize is that one of the little known but more common side effects of Crohn's Disease is the development of kidney stones.


What are the Symptoms of Kidney Stones?

If you develop kidney stones, you will know it fairly quickly. 

kidney stones graphicSome of the most common symptoms of kidney stones include the following:

  • Intense pain in the sides, lower back, or abdomen beneath the ribs
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pink, red, or brown urine
  • Cloudy and/or foul-smelling urine
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • General malaise
Kidney stones are a serious health complication, so it's very important to consult with your doctor if you begin experiencing any or all of these symptoms. 

Your doctor may recommend increasing your fluid intake and/or taking a pain reliever if the kidney stone is relatively small and can be passed. 

However, if the stone is larger or more spiny, then medical intervention like surgery may be necessary.


Why Do People With Crohn's Disease Get Kidney Stones More Often?

There are a number of reasons why people with Crohn's Disease are more likely to get kidney stones.

Kidney stones are formed when there is a decrease in urine volume and an increase in stone-forming substances in the body.

One of the most common causes of kidney stones is malabsorption, which is a condition where the small intestine isn't able to absorb nutrients properly. For example, fat in the small intestine could bind to calcium, causing oxalates (a stone-producing substance) to be released and absorbed into the kidneys.

stay hydratedIn addition, dehydration is a significant risk factor for kidney stones.

Those who suffer from Crohn's Disease are more likely to have symptoms of malabsorption and dehydration. Also, they may have more concentrated urine, which is another risk factor for kidney stones. 

Kidney stones are a serious health concern, due to the pain and discomfort they can cause as well as the potential for blocking the normal flow of urine. This is why we urge you to speak with your treating physician as soon as you notice the warning signs of a kidney stone developing.


Other Complications Associated With Crohn's Disease

Unfortunately, when you have Crohn's Disease, whether mild or severe, this condition can impact your health in a variety of different ways aside from kidney stones.

This may include ulcers, inflammation throughout the digestive tract, malnutrition from lack of vitamin absorption, colon or colorectal cancer, bowel obstruction, and more. It's important to speak with your treating physician about any new or different symptoms that may pop up.

Occasionally, these issues may become so severe that surgery is required to remove or temporarily bypass diseased or obstructed parts of the bowel. This typically leads to a need for colostomy or ileostomy supplies.

At 180 Medical, we carry a wide variety of ostomy products and accessories to assist those who have been impacted by Crohn's Disease to the point of needing ostomy surgery. We'd love the opportunity to help you find the right supplies for your individual needs. Contact us today!


ostomy customer testimonial 180 medical

Elizabeth is Determined to Win the Daily Battle Against Her Disability

by Jessica March 14 2018 06:27
elizabeth 2017 scholarship recipient

Earlier this year, we were proud to announce the seven 2017 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients. This year's group of applicants and especially the 2017 recipients are truly inspiring and are living proof of overcoming odds to achieve dreams, so we love getting to let you know more about these bright students and their career goals.

So far, we've introduced you to four of our seven recipients: MeghaFrankChelsea, and Joseph. We're excited to introduce you to Elizabeth today!


elizabeth inspirational disability quote


Facing the Challenges of Cerebral Palsy

From the start, Elizabeth was extraordinary. She was born two months premature in a set of quadruplet girls. 

For over a year, everything seemed normal, until Elizabeth's parents realized she wasn't sitting up on her own and couldn't crawl or walk like her sisters.

The doctors diagnosed her with Cerebral Palsy, which is a condition caused by a lack of oxygen to an infant's brain (asphyxia) during childbirth. There are multiple complications and symptoms that can arise from a condition like Cerebral Palsy, and it's rarely the same for each person affected. Some of the potential symptoms of cerebral palsy may include:

  • Muscle tone variation
  • Seizures and/or tremors
  • Difficult with walking or unusual gait
  • Difficulty with coordination and motor skills
  • Delays in speech development
  • Neurogenic bladder or urinary incontinence
  • Delayed development
Elizabeth has now lived with Cerebral Palsy for almost 24 years, and for her, the condition affects her whole body and many other aspects of her life.

"Thankfully," she says, "I do not have to face this challenge alone."


Finding Joy in Family, Sports, & School

elizabeth at homecomingElizabeth's family has been with her every step of the way since her birth. Although living with Cerebral Palsy does make her somewhat dependent on her family for her daily care, they state that "the joys and opportunities that have come through sharing life with [Elizabeth] far outweigh any sacrifices."

One joy that Elizabeth found at just eight years old is Paralympic Boccia. She found the challenges of the sport perfect for a competitive outlet, and Boccia is perfect for her physical abilities.

Even today, Elizabeth is still actively participating in Boccia, and she competed in the 2017 National Championships most recently.

"I also co-chair the Youth Development Taskforce for Boccia's national organization, USA Boccia. The Taskforce's vision is to expand youth participation in Boccia at the regional and national level," Elizabeth states. 

Despite her condition and her avid participation in Boccia, she worked hard in school, made excellent grades, and graduated from John Brown University with her Bachelor's degree in Child and Family Studies. Her time in college strengthened her passion to help others, particularly at the policy level of social work. 

During her time at school, she finally got to experience living apart from her family and having assisting staff for her daily care and needs, which was another step toward the independence that Elizabeth craves, although she is grateful beyond words for her family's unending support. 


Working To Become a Leader in Social Change

Currently, Elizabeth is now completing her Master's Degree in Social Work at the University of Illinois, and she is beyond thrilled to be able to start on this new adventure and continue her preparations for her career through higher education. 

She plans to concentrate on Leadership and Social Change. When talking about why she chose this field, Elizabeth is excited and hopeful. 

"I value social work, because it is an opportunity to truly meet people where they are and empower them to fulfill their potential by offering new skills and resources. With my degree, I seek to impact the disability service system in our country, advocating for the dignity and well-being of all people across the spectrum of ability," Elizabeth says. 

Even though Elizabeth faces a daily battle, she says she refuses to allow Cerebral Palsy to become a prison or limit her in any way. She is determined to use her own experiences to make a difference in others' lives. 


elizabeth motivational quote 180 medical scholarship recipient 2017


We are all certain that with her drive and dedication, she will go far in improving the lives of others living with disabilities, and we wish her the best of luck in her future goals!


About the 180 Medical Scholarship

College isn't always easy to afford, and we know that there can often be extra financial hardship heaped on students who live with conditions like spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, neurogenic bladder, and/or an ostomy (ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy). That's why 180 Medical established a scholarship program to help those aspiring students work toward achieving their dreams.

We're accepting applications for the 2018 180 Medical College Scholarship Program now through June 1, 2018! You can download an application and get full information at www.180medical.com/scholarships.


180 medical scholarship program for ostomy sci spina bifida



About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.