For the more than 25 million Americans with bladder control loss, leaving their comfort zone can be a daunting thought. Even short trips can cause anxiety, let alone long road trips or air travel. It doesn’t have to be this way. With preparation and the right know-how, the anxious and uncomfortable feelings can be eliminated.
Imagine forgoing a golfing trip with your buddies or missing your favorite niece’s graduation because you will be in a situation where there may not be restrooms in sight. This is what many people with urinary incontinence and overactive bladder do. There are steps to take before your trip so that you are prepared for these situations.
As with most things, preparation is key. Think about how you will be traveling and make a plan for what to do in certain situations. If you’re traveling by airplane, get an aisle seat. And be sure to go to the bathroom before the drink cart heads down the aisle. If you’re traveling by car, you can use online tools and apps to find rest stops along your driving routes. Not every car on a passenger train has a restroom; perhaps you need to consider upgrading to business class or ask the reservation clerk for a seat closest to the toilet. And public toilets are often lacking supplies. Always have hand sanitizer, wipes, and pocket tissue handy. Which brings us to our second tip...
Pack management tools. Absorbent products are lifesavers when traveling and can help prevent embarrassing leaks. Make sure to choose products that fit your needs – look at the form, fi and function of a product when evaluating your options. Visit the absorbent product section of NAFC’s website for more information.
You should also pay attention to what you are eating and drinking. Diet can have a profound effect on your voiding patterns. Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners. These are known bladder irritants. And make sure you drink plenty of water. Many people who have bladder control problems reduce the amount of liquids they drink in the hope that they will need to urinate less often. While consuming less water may mean fewer trips to the bathroom, the smaller amount of urine may be more highly concentrated and, thus, irritating to the bladder. Highly concentrated (dark yellow, strong-smelling) urine may cause you to go to the bathroom more frequently, and it encourages growth of bacteria.
Finally, consider talking to your doctor about medication to control your bladder. Be aware that you will need to begin to take these medications weeks before your trip for them to begin to take effect when you need them to. It is also helpful to get acclimated to the effects of a new medication, such as dry mouth or constipation, so that you can find ways to manage these side effects before going out of town.
Do not let your bladder control your life. If you are experiencing bladder control loss and you haven’t spoken to your doctor or healthcare provider about it you need to do so now. Help is available for everyone. More and more new treatments are successfully used for all types of incontinence. Improvement begins with you and continues through active participation in your treatment program.
NAFC is a small non-profit that operates with all the expenses of a large organization. Please help us continue our mission by making a donation. Even a small gift can make a difference and will help ensure we are able to keep this FREE resource alive and help more people learn to live a Life Without Leaks. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!