Urinary Incontinence can be a hassle at any time of the year, but the holiday season can come with extra challenges. From traveling long distances by plane or car, staying with family and friends, and eating different kinds of foods, the holidays can be nerve-wracking with those with incontinence. However, it is still possible to have an exciting and fun-filled winter season. Here are some tips to help you manage your symptoms and not let your condition keep you from enjoying the most cheerful time of year.
1. Watch What You Drink
If can be tempting to fuel your long car ride with a big iced coffee or holiday flavored latte from your favorite coffee shop. However, if you are struggling with urinary incontinence, you may be forcing yourself to make frequent, unexpected stops along the way. Coffee is a natural diuretic that will flush all of the water out of your body, which means you’ll be pulling over for a bathroom break before you’re even out of town.
Once you’re at your holiday party, also be sure to limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol, like coffee, is a diuretic, which increases urine production and causes your bladder to fill up faster than usual. Slipping away for bathroom breaks all evening can put a real damper on any holiday party, so try to cut back on the champagne and hard eggnog.
2. Practice Your Kegels
Holiday travel can mean a lot of sitting in a car or airplane seat, so don’t let all of that time go to waste and strengthen your pelvic muscles. If you do Kegel exercises regularly, you can expect to see results within just a few weeks or months, which means you could be working towards lessening the effects of urinary incontinence all December long! Be sure to do some research on what Kegel exercises are best for you, and then get to work during your trip.
3. Beware of Spicy or Acidic Foods
Foods full of spices or citric acid can cause a lot of irritation to your bladder, which can cause even more bathroom breaks and holiday interruptions. When choosing meals and desserts during the holidays, be sure to opt to mildly flavored foods that don’t feature a lot of citrus fruits including, lemons, limes and oranges. Key Lime Pie, Lemon Bars and Mimosas for example, are all popular delicacies often served at holiday parties or dinners that it might be best to avoid.
4. Invest in Leak-Proof Underwear or Pads
Thanks to new innovations, people with incontinence have many more options when it comes to undergarments. Instead of being stuck with large, unsightly diapers, it is now possible wear to leak-proof undergarments that are reusable, discreet and affordable.
Be sure to invest in a few pairs of absorbent undergarments designed to work with your level of leakage. Then, make sure you keep a few extra pairs in your bag or carry on, just in case you need to make a quick change on a plane, at a rest stop or at a holiday party. If you prefer pads over reusable underwear, be sure you pack plenty of these as well during the holidays.
5. Bring Plastic Bags
No matter if you use reusable underwear or pads, having a few plastic bags for quick storage might be a lifesaver. In case of an accidental leak, you can use a plastic bag to carry your soiled clothes until you reached a washing machine. And if there isn’t a trash receptacle available, you can use a plastic bag to transport old pads until you reach one. A plastic bag might also help you be discreet at a holiday function or event once you’ve arrived at your destination.
6. Download a Bathroom Finder App
Worried you won’t be able to find a bathroom when the sudden urge to urinate hits? There’s an app for that! There are a variety of apps available for Android and Apple phones that will help you save precious time when looking for a restroom, and help you avoid unnecessary anxiety by not being able to locate one.
One great app for finding the nearest bathroom is Sit or Squat created by the makers of Charmin toilet paper. This app helps you find the closest restroom, it will direct you there using GPS, and it even has a feature where users can rate the cleanliness of the facility. Download a bathroom finder app and take some of the stress out of sudden urges to urinate.
7. Book the Aisle Seat
It’s a well-known fact that most people want a window seat. However, if you are having to make constant trips to the restroom, having to climb over the other passengers might be an inconvenience to you and your neighbors. It may also waste the precious seconds you need to get to the restroom. It may cost a little extra to book a certain seat in advance, but this small investment can make your plane trip much more relaxing.
If you are traveling by car, having the easiest access to the restroom possible can save you a lot of worry and stress as well. If you are a passenger in the car, be sure the driver knows about your condition, and when you say you have to go, there’s little time to waste. Your bathroom locator app could also be helpful in finding the closest bathroom without having to rely on highway signs.
8. Consider Medication
Even if you don’t typically take incontinence medication, it might be worth considering for the holiday season. Having the extra help of medication can relieve some stress and even take some minutes or hours off your travel time. If you choose to take a prescription for the holiday season, be sure to talk to you doctor about it well in advance. You will want to aim to begin taking the new medication at least a week before you leave for the holidays.
The holidays should be a fun-filled time for catching up with family and friends and enjoying treasured traditions. It should not be a time filled with anxiety and stress about incontinence. Hopefully, these tips will help you on your way to a wonderful winter season.