Is incontinence stopping you travelling?
That’s understandable. It can be a crippling, embarrassing condition even in the confines of your own home.
But with a few easy management strategies, you could be up off the couch and exploring the world.
There’s no getting around it, you are going to require a lot more preparation than the usual holiday planning.
Your first step is to whittle down destinations. Trips with long hikes may have held their appeal once, but now you are going to have to be more selective about your itinerary.
Try to make a priority of destinations with good toilet access, healthcare and access to incontinence products. And remember humidity can affect absorbency and pads with adhesive tapes.
Ask for help
Online forums may be a good start for advice. There are Facebook groups, or a local incontinence nurse may be able to help with local support groups. Most major public hospitals, continence clinics and some private continence wards have a specialist continence nurse.
The Continence Foundation of Australia also provides a great depth of advice and support.
If you are on medication, consult your regular doctor to make sure you have enough prescriptions to cover your trip.
Book early and book through a travel agent. You are going to need advice and guidance about making your bookings to suit your circumstances.
Try and book seats near an aisle or toilet or as near to the front of the plane or bus as possible.
If you are travelling by bus, make sure it has a toilet.
If you feel comfortable, tell the cabin crew about your condition. Don’t be embarrassed, they have seen and heard it all, and will probably welcome the chance to be prepared.
Pack extra incontinence products in your carry-on luggage as well as zip-lock bags just in case you need them to dispose of used products. Consider disposable cleaning wipes as well, but remember not to flush them. This is where the zip-lock bags come in handy.
If you use products with a certain absorbent level, while in transit consider going up to another level for that extra feeling of confidence.
Wear dark clothing to disguise any leaks and consider packing a change of pants if you have the space in your carry-on. Make sure it’s easy to rearrange or change into, so elastic waists and stretch material are ideal.
Avoid ingesting food and drink you know will aggravate the situation such as coffee and caffeine-based drinks, alcohol, chocolate drinks, fizzy drinks and sports drinks.
When you are out and about carry something to tie around your waist in case of accidents. A sarong is ideal or even a beach towel or cardigan.
According to Bladder and Bowel UK, some people have found they leak as the plane is descending, so plan to visit the toilet as you near the end of your flight, but before the seat-belt light goes on.
If you are travelling in Australia the National Public Toilet Map is a fantastic resource. Not only does it provide sites, it also lists amenities such as disabled access, showers and adult change facilities.
Many overseas locations have similar online guides – certainly too many to mention here – and there’s always good old Google maps.
Would incontinence put you off travelling? Would any of the these tips change your mind? Why not share your opinion in the comments section below?
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