You’re stuck in traffic on the interstate, en route to see your kids or grandkids for the holidays. Or maybe you’re waiting and waiting on a delayed flight at the airport. Both are inconveniences. But for someone with incontinence, these likely holiday scenarios are much more than a minor inconvenience. They ruin a trip, or cause one to be canceled. They contribute to the anxiety and shame caused by incontinence.
Holiday travel is a necessary evil for many people in the United States. But for the estimated 30 million Americans suffering from incontinence, the long waits without constant access to a restroom can be a nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be.
Here are the top tips for surviving holiday travel with incontinence:
1. Plan, plan, plan – In the days leading up to your travel, keep a voiding diary. This is a journal where you will record what you drank and ate, and when you went to restroom or had urges. It may give you some important clues as to when to plan your bathroom breaks (if possible) and what to avoid.
2. Wear incontinence undergarments – Many people suffering from incontinence are resistant to using incontinence undergarments. But for situations such as traveling, they are a good backup to have. Many newer incontinence products are less bulky and noticeable, and can provide a level of assurance.
3. Avoid caffeine – You may reach for that cup of coffee to get ready for your early morning flight, but resist the urge. Â Caffeine is a diuretic and can contribute to incontinence. Plus the carbonation in soda can irritate the bladder. Water is the best thing you can drink.
4. Stay hydrated – This seems counterintuitive. Maybe you should just avoid drinking anything in order to avoid instances of incontinence. But, avoiding drinking can be worse for you. If you don’t stay hydrated, your urine becomes concentrated. Concentrated urine caused by dehydration can irritate the lining of the bladder and urethra and actually worsen incontinence.
These tips can help to keep you feeling good during travel. Unfortunately, incontinence has a mental toll as well as physical. It can be emotionally taxing to think about being stuck without a bathroom for hours, or the possibility of a potential accident. Incontinence Institute patient Sharon knows this feeling all too well. She cancelled a trip with her husband the morning they were supposed to depart. Sharon said, “You’re just stuck. You feel shut down you’re afraid to go anywhere. You’re afraid to live your life from day to day.”
But, there is help. Consider the above tips to help get you through the tip. If incontinence symptoms are interfering with your everyday life, contact us or call our dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-771-1953.