If you suffer from incontinence, this does not mean you have to avoid going on holiday, road trips or any long journey you may dread. Although travelling with incontinence does not sound like a pleasant combination, there are certain things you can keep in mind to make the travelling experience a more bearable one.
Nancy Muller, executive director of the National Association for Continence states “overactive bladder causes people to stop visiting places they once enjoyed and become isolated”. However, effective overactive bladder control tips can prevent you or your loved one from having the nightmare journey you may dread.
How can you make travelling with Incontinence more pleasant?
> Be Proactive and do your research
The most efficient way to make travelling with incontinence more bearable is to be proactive and aware of the environment you will be faced with. Flying, for example, is one of the most common forms of transport that people with incontinence often dread. Standing in line at airport security is often a tedious wait, but for those with an unpredictable bladder, the fear of possible leakages during the flight can quickly ruin any vision of a dream holiday. Before travelling, you may want to call your airline and ask about the configuration of the plane, including the location of the restrooms. Larger aircraft typically have three bathroom locations, one up front for first class, one in the middle of the plane (typically close to the boarding door) and one in the rear of the aircraft. If possible, ensure you book seats as close to the restroom as you can. If you’re in economy close to the front, talk to the flight attendant about the restroom in 1st class if the lines are too long. It may additionally be useful to choose to sit next to the aisle rather than by the window to allow quick access to the restroom.
If you are travelling somewhere by car, it is highly useful to research the locations of the services that will be available during your journey. Use a map to check your route and plot out businesses, rest areas and restaurants at which you can stop at regular intervals to give the incontinent person a chance to use the washroom. Toilet finder apps can help to detect the closest bathroom facilities particularly helpful in unfamiliar cities. If you are travelling with incontinence or alongside someone who has incontinence, the National Association for Continence website has a tool called “Find a Bathroom”. The website sitorsquat.com can help you find public bathrooms around the world.
> Be careful with your food and drink intake
When going on a long road trip, the temptation to drink caffeine and sugary drinks can be hard to suppress. Aeroplanes have a large selection of caffeinated beverages and sugary drinks such as coke and coffee, and it is inevitable to see other people on the flight drinking these in excess. However, if you are hoping for the most comfortable journey possible, it is more than worthwhile to consider the liquids you are drinking. Similarly, try and resist the urge on trains to pick up a caffeinated beverage from the food cart and opt for a tasty flavoured water or liquids which will not irritate your bladder instead. It is easy to become dehydrated on transportation methods such as aeroplanes, therefore water should not be excluded during travel. Avoiding water can often even make your situation worse.
If you are travelling by car and stop off at a service station, meals should be light to prevent bloating or queasiness, as the body’s digestive clock can get off balance during travel. There are plenty of tasty and nutritious salads which can provide you with energy yet will not make you feel uncomfortable. It is wise to limit your intake of snacks which contain an excessive amount of salt during your journey.
> Be prepared and pack wisely
Before you set off on your journey, ensure you have the most suitable incontinence products alongside you. Disposable products for managing incontinence can take up a substantial amount of space in your luggage, therefore it is important to use the most absorbent products you can in the smallest quantity. Planes and trains have limited waste disposal facilities which cause difficulties disposing of incontinence products. Wearing a product designed for maximum protection such as protective underwear can retain greater amounts of urine leakage and control odour for lengthy plane and train commutes.
If you are travelling by plane, it is useful to contact the airline in advance to find out if there are luggage restrictions and if you will be asked to pay extra. Faced with additional charges, you may be able to make the case for continence products also being exempt, so it worthwhile researching this. In addition to taking incontinence products, you may want to consider taking changes of clothing, including underwear, pants and sanitary wipes to make sure you will stay comfortable. This will also provide you with the confidence that you will not feel unpleasant following an accident.
> Consult your GP or Doctor for advice before travelling
Steve Goelman, CEO of Unique Wellness and manufacturer of incontinence briefs highlights the importance of seeking professional advice before travelling. He asserts, “Take care of yourself. Based on your level of incontinence, ask your doctor about medication to take just during travel.”
It may also be useful to ask your GP or Doctor to provide or help you with the following:
- A letter outlining your medical history and explaining your need and use of medications during your travel. It’s advisable to keep your medicine in its original packaging to show at customs. You can also use this letter in order to get a prescription if needed while you are away.
- A written management plan outlining what you should do for mild, moderate and /or severe symptoms, and when you should seek medical attention.
- Ensure you are able to take enough of your normal medication, devices or appliances to last the duration of the trip.
- A contact number for your GP in case you need medical advice while you are away. It can be very reassuring to know that you can call your GP if you have any medical problems.
Travelling with incontinence can be trouble-free if you know how to manage and control the urinary leakage. Through taking all of our tips and advice on board, you can enjoy a journey without the constant worry of incontinence.
The following products are ideal for travelling long journeys: