Dashing through the snow, visiting family for the holidays, my bladder has to go, but the bathroom seems so far away! If you have bladder incontinence, then I’m sure you’ve thought about how to deal with leaks during the holidays. Whether you’re hosting at your home or traveling, it can be nerve-wracking not knowing when your bladder will strike next. Here, I’ll uncover 9 ways you can handle leaks during the holidays.
1. Swear Off Sugar…A Little Bit
Ah, what a wonderful time of year. Everywhere you turn there are festive Christmas treats like double chocolate mint cookies, yule log cake, and gingerbread houses. But these yummy treats can also trigger bladder leaks. Sugars, both the all-natural and artificial kinds, are considered bladder irritants and increases your urge to go. Not only that, but sugar can also increase your chances of getting a UTI. So, if you do decide to indulge a bit, do so in moderation.
2. Avoid Processed Meats: Smoked, Cured, and Canned
To eat smoked ham or to not eat smoked ham – that is the question. If you’re dealing with bladder leaks then you probably should skip it. Processed meats include nitrates, which stop the growth of bacteria and enhance the flavor of foods. When consumed, they can turn into nitrites and the bladder doesn’t like those. In fact, if nitrites are in your urine, it’s usually a sign that you have a UTI. Who knew that holiday ham could cause leaks?
3. Say MSG Is A No For Me
MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a flavor enhancer that can be found in soups, salad dressings, frozen dishes, and more. A study done on rats showed that MSG consumption causes alkaline urine, increases the risk of kidney stones, and could lead to excess fluid in a kidney due to a backup of urine (i.e. hydronephrosis). In other words, MSG is not your bladder’s friend. In fact, it’s safe to say that most processed foods are a bad idea.
4. Keep The 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall
Alcohol is a diuretic and makes you produce more urine. If you want to have a drink during the holidays, then try to keep it to one serving of wine or liquor per day. But beer is an absolute no-no. It accelerates the rate that your kidneys gather water and practically forces the bladder to empty more often. Also, keep in mind the bladder and brain connection. Alcohol can throw off the signals to your brain that let you know when you do and don’t have to go.
5. Prepare Your Bladder
Whether you’re entertaining guests at your home or arriving as a guest at someone else’s, you’ll benefit from preparing your bladder. Try a few of these tips to get your bladder on your time and not the other way around:
- Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by doing Kegels.
- Create a bladder diary and keep track of possible leaky triggers. You’d rather know that spicy food and coffee are bladder triggers before the festivities begin.
- Schedule specific times to go to the loo and your bladder will adjust to going at those designated times.
6. Map It Out
If you’re traveling for the holidays, then you’ll want to take a few extra precautions. Create what I call a ‘bladder map’ for all locations where you’ll be. If you’ll be driving, then know where the rest stops are in advance. Taking the train, bus or airplane? Most locations have a map you can find online. Take screenshots and save them as pictures on your phone so you can find bathrooms quickly when needed.
7. Aisle Seat Please
The thought of traveling is overwhelming by itself and adding drips and spritz to the mix can have you dreading the experience. Opt for the aisle seat instead of the window. If you’ve gotta go, the last thing you want to do is squeeze past several people just to get out of your seat.
8. Don’t Let Language Barriers Hold You Up
“Où se trouvent les toilettes?” is French for “where is the bathroom?” If you’re going out of the country, then it’ll help to know how to ask the locals ask where the restroom is.
9. And Don’t Forget The Essentials
To be on the safe side, it’s always a great idea to bring an extra set of clothes. Speaking of clothes, try to pack outfits that aren’t hard to take off. There’s nothing worse than getting all the way to the bathroom and remembering that you have 3 buttons to undo just to pee. But if you really need to wear the cute outfit that takes 10 minutes to get in and out of or just want an extra layer of protection, then bring some incontinence pads too.
Overall, Enjoy The Holidays
Dealing with bladder leaks can make you feel like foregoing the festivities, but don’t! You may have to pack a couple of extra items or make a few lifestyle changes, but it’ll be worth it to make new memories.
Is an unruly bladder one of the things that’s stopping you from enjoying the holidays? Lily Bird can help. Lily Bird has you covered with pads and underwear delivered right to your door. Start your trial today.
By Jessica Thomas, MPH