Incontinence: tips for a worry-free getaway

A trip to your favourite vacation spot is just what you need to get away from the stresses of your daily life. Don't let incontinence stop you from enjoying your well-deserved getaway. Here are some tips for a worry-free trip:

Before you go away

Before heading off, you need to plan ahead:

  • See your doctor at least 4 to 6 weeks before you leave. Your doctor can prescribe enough medications (if you are taking them) for the duration of your trip, talk to you about your overall health, and inform you about general precautions you should take to stay healthy while travelling. Depending on where you are going, you may also want to visit a travel clinic to learn about vaccinations you may need (e.g., typhoid vaccine) or preventative measures you should take (e.g., how to prevent traveller's diarrhea).
  • Find out where the washrooms are located. Planning your access to washrooms is a good idea so you don't have to waste time looking for one when you need to use it.
    • For planes, buses, and trains, try to get an aisle seat near the bathroom.
    • If you're travelling by car, find out ahead of time where rest stops are located. You can also map out restaurants and gas stations along the way.
    • Once you arrive at a new area, find out the locations of the nearest washrooms before you need them.
  • Pack smart. Make sure you pack enough of everything you need, including incontinence products and medications, for the duration of your trip.
    • Pack handy disposable wipes.
    • If you use absorbent products, pack enough in your carry-on bag for the travel time. Bring an extra supply in case you experience delays and a change of clothing in case there is a leakage.
    • For extended trips, you may not be able to pack all the absorbent products you need. If that is the case, check if you will be able to buy them at your destination or see if you can arrange to have the supplies shipped to your destination.
    • Pack medications in your carry-on luggage or a handbag that you can keep close to you, not in your suitcase. If you are travelling by plane, the medication should be kept in the original bottle you received from the pharmacy, with the name matching your ticket and passport.
    • Many people worry about whether airport security personnel will see their absorbent products. Keep in mind that the security personnel are checking for potentially dangerous items, not your incontinence products, and they are trained to deal discreetly with things they find in carry-on luggage. You should feel confident that no one will know you are using absorbent products or have incontinence unless you tell them.

While away

You should use the same management strategies you use at home. You may need to make some adjustments:

  • Watch your fluid intake. Make sure you are drinking enough fluids during the day (6 to 8 glasses), but try not to drink too close to bedtime. Limit the amount of food or drinks that can irritate the bladder, such as caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, very spicy foods, artificial sweeteners, and acidic foods.
  • If you are using behaviour techniques to manage incontinence, such as Kegel exercises or bladder training, continue to use them.

You can manage your incontinence, even when you're away from home. By following these tips, you can enjoy the worry-free trip you deserve!

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