Without a doubt, the whole process of traveling can be super chaotic! You have to make a list, check it twice, and hope that you haven’t left anything behind. And those are just the things you have to think about before you even step out the door. The anxiety of traveling is further intensified if you have bladder leakage. There’s nothing worse than doing the potty dance while getting ready to board your flight. Or being in an Uber and still having another 35 minutes before you arrive at your destination.
While those two scenarios probably have you ready to rip your hair out, you’ll at least be glad to know that traveling with bladder leakage is totally manageable. But (and of course there’s always a but…), you’ll have to do a little preparing first!
Whip That Bladder Into Shape
You shouldn’t have to worry about if your bladder will respect your sightseeing schedule or not. If you’re having concerns and your trip is still some time away, then you have the opportunity to get your incontinence in check.
Schedule Your Bathroom Time
Create a pee schedule and stick to it no matter what. Even if you don’t have a full bladder, just go to the bathroom anyway. This will help you transition from going when your bladder tells you, to you going when you want to. You take control of your bladder, don’t let it control you.
Do Those Kegels, Hot Mama
Another way to get your bladder into shape is by doing Kegels. Some women do Kegel exercises for you know what, but you can also do them for bladder leaks too! Why not kill two birds with one stone? Anyway, doing Kegels and other pelvic floor exercises will help you strengthen your pelvic muscles. You know, the area that keeps a bunch of your organs from falling out of you.
Do The Freeze and Squeeze
The freeze and squeeze might sound like a cool dance move, but it’s really a way to delay urination. When you get the sudden urge to run to the bathroom, don’t! Instead, take a moment to assess how your bladder feels and then do those Kegels. Over time, this should help alleviate the urgency and allow you more time to get to the toilet.
Plan Ahead Like Your Bladder Depends On It
I really like structure, so planning out the details of my trips in advance comes naturally. If you’re a planner queen like me, then these next few tips will be a cinch.
Know Where The Restrooms Are
The urge to pee isn’t always predictable, but planning your route can be. Make sure you know where the restrooms are; there’s no shame in being the the potty-pointer. If you have friends traveling along with you, they’ll appreciate someone planning ahead, especially after having wine.
Consider doing the following:
- Know where the bathrooms are where you depart and arrive.
- Will you be walking a lot? See if there are pay toilets along your route. Pay toilets are popular in Europe and parts of Asia. Also, be sure to bring some change with you! In some places, you’ll have to pay a fee to pee.
- Check if the venues you’re attending have a building map. Make a mental note of where the bathroom is so you’re not guessing when it’s time to go.
Pick Your Own Seat
While the window seat is great for sightseeing, it’s not great if you struggle with urinary incontinence. There’s nothing worse than looking at your seatmate whose sound asleep and contemplating whether you should get up or not. Save yourself the anxiety and get an aisle seat.
Get Familiar With The Language
Saying “wee wee” while in France isn’t going to cut it if you’re looking for the bathroom. You’ll likely get a few raised eyebrows and confused faces. Instead, learn how to say, “where is the bathroom” in the primary language of the country you’re visiting.
Choose Foods That Won’t Ruin Your Mood
You’re probably thinking, what foods could possibly ruin my mood? Well, certainly the kind that irritate your bladder. Everyone’s a little different but you’ll probably want to stay away from alcohol (sorry), spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, and artificial sweeteners.
Bring Your “Just In Case” Outfit
We women are warriors and worriers, which is another reason why planning ahead is so important. If you have bladder leakage, it doesn’t hurt to think about the “what’s the worst that could happen” scenario. For instance, say you have the urge to go and you leak just two steps before opening the bathroom door. Yikes! Now your pants are ruined and where you’re staying isn’t that close by. To avoid such a situation, bring your “just in case” outfit. Problem solved!
Don’t Forget These Things At Home
While it’s unlikely that you’ll forget to pack your makeup, hair products, cute outfits, and stellar shoes – it’s easy to forget about absorbent urinary incontinence pads. If you’ve never used pads for leaks, then now is the perfect time! If you’ve used them before, then you know that they certainly come in handy when you need them most.
These pads are great for those moments when your bladder moves faster than your brain. A bladder leak could happen while laughing, coughing, sneezing, or walking, but wearing a bladder leak pad will make it so that nobody else knows.
Waterproof Your Skin
Make sure you bring barrier cream to protect your skin from irritation. The last thing you want to do is be on an exotic island with an infected rash.
And There You Have It!
If you have a fear of leakage on your upcoming trip, then take action so you can nip those drips in the bud. Taking a trip anywhere is already overwhelming enough with the potential for delayed flights, terrible traffic and disrespectful gas prices. Don’t add leakage to the list too!
Should you be thinking about having the time of your life? Absolutely! Will bladder leakage stop you? Of course not!
Do you like to control your bladder leaks while traveling? Tell us below in the comments.
By Jessica Thomas, MPH