Planning A Road Trip This Summer? Check Out These Tips To Keep You Dry!

Planning A Road Trip This Summer? Stay Dry With These Tips.

Traveling when you have incontinence can be scary and intimidating – especially when you know there may be times when you’re not going to be near a toilet. But by planning ahead, you’ll be able to have the road trip of your dreams! 

7 Tips For Planning A Road Trip When You Have Incontinence

Pack Wisely.

Being prepared is half the battle when you have incontinence, and it’s especially important when you’re traveling away from your comfort zone.  Be sure to pack appropriately – what types of protection do you need? If you’ll be in the car for long periods of time without the ability to stop, you may need a product that is slightly more absorbent than you’re used to at home. 

Extra pairs of clothes may feel excessive, but can be a huge relief if you have an accident. If you’ll be staying in hotels, think about overnight protection or items to protect the bedding. And, don’t forget about cleanup supplies. A couple of plastic bags, wipes, or other cleanup supplies can come in handy when you’re on the road.

Bring Extras Of Everything.

Bring more than you think you may need of absorbent protection, clothes, and clean up supplies. It may feel excessive, but you’ll be glad to have them if you need them. Pack an extra bag of supplies so that you have back ups.

Wear Dark Colors.

If you do have an accident, it’s easier to hide it when you’re wearing darker colored pants. Loose and light clothing also may be helpful when trying to hide leaks.

Scout Out Your Route.

You likely know the route you’re taking so plan ahead for bathroom stops. Research the towns you’ll be passing along the way and learn about any rest stops that exist along your route. Knowing that you have scheduled bathroom breaks set up in advance may help to calm your mind (and your bladder!) while you’re on the road.

Talk To Your Doctor Well Beforehand.

You may wish to speak with your doctor about medications that could help you while on your trip. Be sure to do this well in advance as some medications may take some time to start working, so you may need to start taking them a couple of months prior to your trip.

Use Technology To Your Advantage.

There are lots of great bathroom finder apps available that can help you out when you need it.  And, apps like Google maps can help you find stops along your journey, as well as inform you of traffic build ups and alternative routes.

 Pay Attention To What You’re Eating and Drinking.

It goes without saying that you’ll need to watch what you’re eating and drinking. If you know something is likely to irritate your bladder, steer clear from it. And while you should never restrict your fluids too much, it’s probably wise to not gulp down a bunch before you hop in the car. 

Don’t let incontinence keep you from getting out and exploring this summer! Follow these simple steps and you’ll soon be wondering why you don’t road trip every year!

Got any great tips for staying dry while traveling? Share them with us in the comments below!

Ask The Expert: How Do I Manage My Incontinence While Traveling?

Ask The Expert: How Do I Manage My Incontinence While Traveling?

Question:  I’m headed across country over the holidays to visit some family. What are your tips for managing incontinence while traveling such a long distance?

Answer:  This is a common concern for people with incontinence. Being in an unfamiliar environment, especially one that may have limited bathrooms or restrictions on when you can use them can create anxiety in anyone who has trouble with bladder control. But follow the two main tips tips and you’ll be on your way to a leak free holiday!

Preparation

As with most things, preparation is everything.  Knowing that you have some backups in place can go a long way in making you feel more comfortable about your trip. Think ahead to your trip and think about what you might need. Are you traveling by car or flying? Each presents it’s own challenges for someone who is incontinent.  If you’re flying, try to get an isle seat so you have easier access to a bathroom. Traveling by car? Plan your route where with some designated bathroom stops built in so you’re never going too long without a break.  Think about the type of traveling you’ll be doing, and plan accordingly.

You also may want to limit your fluids – within reason. Drink enough so that you don’t feel thirsty, but don’t down that big gulp right before you hop in the car or get on a flight. Use some common sense here.

 Packing

This one kind of goes along with preparation, but think about what you use on a daily basis to manage your incontinence and be sure to pack plenty of supplies.  Make sure to bring an extra set of clothes with you, as well as extra absorbent protection or medication if you use it.  You never know when your travel plans might change due to canceled flights or weather and you don’t want to be stuck without these items.  If you’re flying, pack some of these supplies in your carry-on so that you have them with you in the event your flight is delayed, or your luggage gets lost. 

If you’re staying at a loved one’s house, consider if bedding protection is needed. Waterproof pads can be a great thing to bring along and will give you peace of mind at night.   You also may want to bring along any laundry detergent or plastic bags to put soiled garments in, if needed.

By planning ahead and packing accordingly, you’ll be one step ahead of the game, and will have some peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared for whatever your travels may throw at you! 

Happy Holidays!

Ask The Expert: How Do I Avoid Leaks When Visiting Loved Ones?

How Do I Avoid Leaks When Visiting Loved Ones?

Each month, we ask our expert panel to answer one of our reader's questions. To learn more about the NAFC Expert Panel, and how to submit your own question, see below.

Question: I suffer from incontinence and will be visiting my daughter for 3 weeks this holiday season. I’m terrified I’ll have an accident at her house. Do you have any precautions I can take to avoid leaks and the accompanying embarrassment?

Answer: This is a common concern and is a great topic to discuss around the holidays. There are many things you can do to avoid leaks, as well as a few things you can have at the ready in case a leak does happen at your loved one’s home.  

As always, preparation is key, and will help give you some peace of mind knowing that you have the proper products in place to prevent leaks. Be sure to bring plenty of supplies with you: absorbent products for day and night, extra changes of clothes (black is a great color choice since it goes with everything and hides leaks well), and extra medication, if you’re on it. After all, when traveling during the winter season, anything is possible and delayed or canceled flights can leave you unprepared – pack extras so that you have enough to last you for a few extra days just in case. If you have trouble at night, bring your own waterproof pad (or two) to protect the bedding. Don’t forget about any other supplies you may need – skin protectants or cleansers, detergents for doing a load of laundry, disposable plastic bags to hold used or wet products, and an odor neutralizing spray to hide any unwanted odors.

An extra bag can help you transport and hide your supplies, as well as serve as a place to store used products or clothes that you can dispose of when convenient for you.  And if you’re a woman, upgrade your purse to a tote bag that can hold extra supplies you may need when you’re out and about.

Finally, the holidays can be a time of indulgence, so watch what you’re eating and drinking. Skip the coffee and alcohol, limit spicy foods and sweets, and avoid any foods that you know irritate your bladder. 

Are you an expert in incontinence care? Would you like to join the NAFC expert panel? Have a question you'd like answered? Contact us!

Bladder Control Loss and Travel

For the more than 25 million Americans with bladder control loss, leaving their comfort zone can be a daunting thought. It doesn’t have to be this way. With preparation and the right know-how, the anxious and uncomfortable feelings can be eliminated.

Travel Tips For Those With Bladder Control Issues

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.

Try A New Medication For Bladder Control

Ask your doctor about medications to help control urinary incontinence. Be aware that you will need to begin to take these medications weeks before your trip. Many people think of these medications as event management—take a pill when going out. But these medications need to be in the system for a couple of weeks for them to take effect. 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.

Map out public restrooms in the city you are traveling to.

There are online tools, mobile phone applications, and books devoted to this. 

Pack tools to manage bladder or bowel leakage.

Absorbent products can be helpful in situations when loss of urine and bowel control is unpredictable. Pads, briefs, and absorbent underwear should be chosen for absorbency, comfort and fit. Visit the absorbent product section of NAFC’s website for more information.

Think about how you'll be traveling. 

While traveling you want to make it easy as possible to get to a restroom. 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. You can also use online tools, such as Google Maps, to find rest stops along your driving routes, if you are traveling by car. 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.

Pay Attention To Your Diet.

While on vacation 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. 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. Some fail to hydrate as they would like simply because they are in unfamiliar areas without beverages frequently accessible. While less liquid through the mouth does result in less liquid in the form of urine, the smaller amount of urine may be more highly concentrated and, thus, irritating to the bladder surface. Highly concentrated (dark yellow, strong-smelling) urine may cause you to go to the bathroom more frequently, and it encourages growth of bacteria.

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.

How I Survive Traveling With Incontinence (and Three Kids)

How I Survive Traveling With Incontinence

I’ve never been one of those moms who can fly by the seat of her pants and wing it. Especially when traveling.  A mother of 3 kids, I have to be prepared – always.  My 3 year old has an accident?  I’ve got it covered with an extra change of clothes.  My 5 year old decides to throw a tantrum mid-flight?  The iPad is completely stocked with games and movies to calm him down. My 6 month old begins wailing?  I’m like a ninja with her bottle – from bag to lips in two seconds flat.  Friends and family are often amazed at my level of preparedness – I’m a master, and I wear the badge proudly. 

When I developed Overactive Bladder (OAB) after the birth of my second child, my philosophy was no different.  I plan and prepare for the unexpected for myself, just as I would my children.  As the holidays approach I’m looking forward to a trip back home to see my family.  Our whole kit and caboodle are going to be coming along for the ride and you can bet that a little OAB is not going to stop me from having a fabulous time. 

So, in case anyone else may be suffering from OAB or incontinence, here are my top 7 tips to help you make it to your destination with ease.  

1. Plan ahead and know your route.

If you are driving to your location, you have the advantage of being able to stop relatively easily.  Plan your route ahead of time and determine rest stops to make regular bathroom breaks.  This will help you avoid waiting too long to relieve yourself, which could result in an accident.

If you’re flying, try to book your seat on the isle if possible, and as close to the restroom as you can.  This will ensure you have easy access in the event you need to get to a restroom quickly.

2. Leave enough time for extra stops. 

Be sure to leave early, and plan to make at least a few extra stops.  Whether you are traveling by car, or flying, it pays to have some time built in for emergencies. 

3. Bring along an extra change of clothes.

In the event you do have an accident, having an extra pair of clothes handy will save you from embarrassment, and discomfort for the rest of your trip.  I know, I know – we moms already have enough to pack with all our kids stuff.  But trust me when I say you don’t want to be dealing with a screaming toddler and wet pants for the second half of your flight.  If you are flying, be sure to pack these in your carryon so you have them with you at all times.  It’s also a good idea to bring along an extra ziplock bag for any soiled clothing.  Additionally, hand wipes and an antibacterial cleansing product will keep you feeling clean and fresh.

4. Remember all your supplies.

This list will vary depending on what you normally use and how severe your incontinence is.  But, it’s always a good idea to carry along a few extra disposable pads or underwear.  (And if you’re flying, wearing a pad “just in case”, even if you normally don’t wear one, can be a life-saver as well.)  Pack some of these in your carryon too, in the event that your luggage gets lost, or you experience delays at the gate. Also think about what you will need when you arrive at your destination.  Depending on your accommodations, bed protection, deodorized liners for disposal of products, sanitizing or cleansing products and lotions may also be useful.

5. Limit liquids a few hours before your trip.

While it’s never a good idea to completely avoid liquids, limiting them a couple of hours before you depart may help you get through the first leg of your trip a bit easier.  It’s also a good idea to pass on the beverage cart if you’re flying, in order to avoid having to make an extra trip (or 2!) to the restroom.

6. Look into medications to manage your bladder.

If you feel that absorbent products alone are not enough to keep you from having an accident while traveling, you may want to ask your doctor about any potential medications that he or she may recommend.  Be sure to do this well in advance of your trip, since some medications, like those indicated for overactive bladder, can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to become effective.

7. Request a note from your doctor with a list of any approved medication or special instructions that may be useful to you when flying.

Flying with medications can be made easier if you have a note from your doctor.  Additionally, if you have any special medical conditions, a doctor’s note with special instructions may help you when asking for special requests (like preferred seating on planes, priority boarding, etc.).

I can’t wait to spend the holidays with my family this year.  And, though my OAB may present a little extra challenge, I know that with the above plan I’ll be sailing through the airport effortlessly.  Well, as effortlessly as you can with three kids. And a husband. So, four kids really.