Traveling with incontinence can strike fear into the hearts of many women. The constant worry of locating and staying close to a restroom, plus dreading unexpected leaks can taint any vacation with anxiety. Here are some suggestions based on science and personal experience to help maximize your travel plans and minimize your stress.
How to handle traveling with incontinence
Clinical research and personal experience have taught us that women who suffer from urinary leaks frequently stay close to home or only visit places they know have accessible bathrooms. And while summer months and holiday breaks are made for road trips or far-flung destinations, those with urinary leaks dread the thought of traveling with incontinence.
We know our lives shouldn’t be dictated by our bladder leakage, but who wants to leak while on an airplane or waiting in line for the restroom? With a little planning and some research, you can ease the stress of traveling with incontinence and focus on savoring your travel adventures.
Pack extra clothing
Obviously, when you travel, you pack clothing. But be strategic about your packing list. An extra pair of pants and underwear in your carry on may give you some much-needed peace of mind. And when staying in a hotel, call ahead to see if there are guest laundry facilities or the location of the nearest laundromat. If the hotel offers laundry service, check how long the turnaround is for laundry and plan accordingly.
Replenish incontinence supplies
Whether you’re going on a road trip or taking a flight, make sure to stock up on your travel incontinence products. If you use pads, bring more than you think you’ll need so you won’t run out, especially if you’ll be in a foreign country or without a car. For road trips, consider packing extra toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and antibacterial wipes in case you need to use a poorly maintained rest area.
Be ready for air travel
Planning some extra precautions before air travel will make it as comfortable as possible. Start with paying extra to reserve an aisle seat. This ensures you have easy access to the restroom and your carry on during the flight. Your carry-on bag should include extra clothes, necessary pads, and hand sanitizers or antibacterial wipes.
Anyone with incontinence knows that locating restrooms ahead of time helps travel go smoothly. Consider downloading an app like Flush Toilet Finder for fast help finding a public restroom near you. Not only will this assist with planning ahead, but you’ll be more flexible with last-minute changes in itineraries if you know where you can go.
Eat and drink mindfully
Some foods exacerbate incontinence. Try not to overindulge in spicy or acidic foods that might irritate your bladder. When you want to be adventurous with your menu choices, wait until dinner, so an irritating meal won’t derail a day full of activities. Another technique to ease the pressure on your bladder is to limit beverages, particularly those with caffeine, before your excursion. When en route to your destination, avoid liquids. Sucking on a few pieces of hard candy can curb your thirst until you’ve reached a location where bathrooms are more accessible.
Plan for an emergency
If your leaks are sometimes severe, pack a small bottle (less than 3.4 ounces for air travel) of white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. These liquids both kill germs and neutralize odors without damaging car, train, or airplane upholstery. A self-inflating seat cushion also can provide a barrier in case of bladder leakage.
Begin treatment before your trip
It is possible to decrease or even eliminate bladder leakage due to female stress urinary incontinence. In addition to doing Kegel exercises on your own, there are devices that help you tighten your pelvic floor muscles for better bladder control. ELITONE is an FDA-cleared Kegel device that has been proven to reduce (and possibly eliminate) urinary leaks in as few as six weeks. If you begin treatment far enough in advance, you may not need to think about traveling with incontinence; you can enjoy on the journey!
Share your tips
Did we miss an idea for traveling with incontinence? Share your tips and strategies with us so we can tell our community!