The holidays are well upon us, which can bring both good and bad. This year may be different, but hopefully, it’s an opportunity to share time with friends and family; a time to enjoy good companyf, good food, and a break from the daily routine. Unfortunately, for women with incontinence, this season can bring more complications and worries.
Here’s a list of five ways the holidays can be problematic for your incontinence. But don’t worry, we provide a few tips to manage through season. Hopefully, being aware of these risks and tips will help your bladder be less “naughty” and more “nice”.
1. Those Long Drives (Over the river and through the woods….)
For many of us, the holidays and travel go hand in hand. We inevitably find ourselves in a long car ride, worrying whether to take another bathroom break or to wait until the final destination. When we finally arrive, do we rush past those waiting to greet us, and make a bee-line to the nearest toilet? Hopefully, the evidence of our leaks isn’t noticed! Ugh…. Maybe everyone should come to our house next year.
2. Don’t Make Me Laugh!
Have you heard the saying “I laughed so hard tears ran down my leg”? It may be true, but when it’s happening in front of your loved ones it isn’t exactly funny. The last thing you want to be doing while visiting with friends and family is worrying about leaks during everyone’s funny stories.
3. Who Wants a Hug?
With your favorite nieces, nephews, or grandkids all around you’re going to need to give some hugs. Does your incontinence prevent you from fully embracing those you love? Do you worry about them smelling your leaks? This can be extremely distressing.
4. Food for Thought (and Leaks)
The holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without food and (let’s be honest) most of us overdo it a bit. Unfortunately, many of our favorite holiday foods and beverages exacerbate incontinence. Beer and wine? Check. Alcohol will make your incontinence worse. Caffeinated drinks like fresh coffee? Check. Those are problematic too. Spicy and acidic foods? Check. These can irritate your bladder and cause incontinence.
5. No Exercise, Extra weight
If you’re carrying excess weight, it could be contributing to your incontinence. In some studies, losing just ten pounds was enough to reduce or eliminate bladder leaks. Now it’s unlikely that you’ll add (or lose) ten pounds over the holidays, and no one can exercise enough to work off all those wonderful desserts, but now is a good time to start planning for 2020. Do you have a weight loss goal? Any plans to start exercising your pelvic floor muscles to treat your incontinence?
Yikes… Is there Any Hope?
Here’s a list to get you thinking about how to reduce the likelihood of having a surprise bladder leak this holiday season. A few important tips include:
- Be prepared. Bring extra pads (or even slightly larger pads) just in case you experience unexpected leaks.
- When you’re in a new place, scout out the bathroom situation.
- Use the toilet more often. Better to make a few extra trips than to have an accident spoil your holiday.
- Eat and drink in moderation.
- Lastly… Try not to worry. The holidays should be a special occasion. Enjoy yourself!
Stop Managing and Start Treating
Tips and tricks for managing your incontinence can save you from embarrassing situations, but they don’t solve the underlying problem. Incontinence is a problem that only gets worse with time. If you’re ready to begin treating your incontinence rather than simply managing it, check out these articles. And since it is the end of year, don’t forget to use your HSA/FSA before you lose it!