7 Tips for Traveling with Bladder Issues


Going on a well-deserved vacation and celebrating the holidays with friends and family often involves a certain amount of travel, whether it is by car or plane. Those unplanned snags with flights such as inclement weather, mechanical delays, and overbooking can be a hassle, but there's an additional obstacle that roughly 30 percent of the U.S. population has to deal with while traveling.

For those with urinary incontinence (UI)—or the other "i" word, as many Baby Boomers refer to the condition—travel can be even more daunting. Whether you are dealing with occasional accidental leaks, frequent visits to the bathroom, or complete incontinence, it takes significant planning for the unexpected to avoid an embarrassing situation.

These seven tips could save you and your loved ones time and embarrassment while en route.

  1. Map your route: When traveling by car, identify freeway exit guides that list rest areas, and plan regular stops for bathroom breaks. Google Maps can highlight each rest stop on your trip so you know when and where you can go. Leave enough time in your journey to allow you to reach your destination on schedule.
  2. Avoid liquids two hours before boarding a flight.
    Changes in cabin pressure and tight seat belts can put pressure on your bladder, especially if it's full. Before the plane door closes, alert the flight attendant about your UI. This can be helpful should the plane get stuck on the tarmac.
  3. Pass on complementary beverages.
    If you can't pass these up, at least avoid diuretics such as soda and coffee. Plain old water is your best choice.
  4. Have a "Plan B" bag.
    Pack an easily accessible bag with extra supplies, such as a change of clothes, extra incontinence supplies and a plastic bag for soiled clothing. This helps if you have an accident, but can also be a lifesaver if the airline loses your checked baggage.
  5. Always reserve an aisle seat, if possible.
    If you book with an airline that doesn't assign seats, consider investing in early check-in capabilities, which guarantee you a spot at the front of the line to ensure you get that aisle seat.
  6. Talk to your doctor about medication.
    Because medications to treat an overactive bladder can take two weeks to take effect, discuss this option with your doctor well in advance of your trip.
  7. Learn how to ask, "Where is the restroom?"
    This is vitally important when traveling to foreign countries. Here are a few to get you started:
    French: Où sont les toilettes s’il vous plaît? (Where is the toilet, please?)
    Spanish: Perdóneme ¿Dónde está el baño? (Excuse me, where is the bathroom?)
    German: Wo ist die Toilette, bitte? (Where is the toilet, please?)
    Arabic: Ayn al hammam? (اين الحمام)

And finally, manage your bladder issues with products that are safe, healthy and don't require multiple changes throughout the day. Bon Voyage!

Wendy LaTorre is the Chief Strategy Officer at Bioderm Medical, a company that manufactures catheters and catheter equipment, including Men's Liberty.

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Instead of keeping him off the sofa, put a waterproof mattress pad over the cushions and cover it with a pretty small blanket or afghan. Just tuck the afghan under the cushions snugly. No one need know there is anything underneath. I like to buy multiple small blankets and change them to fit the season. To convince them to bring a plan B bag, call your mother-in-law in advance... tell her you understand that this is an embarrassing issue and say something like "I understand that nobody wants to admit they have a problem like this but I really don't want dad to be embarrassed if he has an accident. Can you bring a change of clothes just in case?" then offer to set aside a place in a bathroom cupboard or drawer to put the items so dad can discretely go to the bathroom and change if necessary. This way you are preserving dad's dignity discretely.
The subject is "Bladder Issues", but covered only travel with Incontinence !
How about when you travel with an In dwelling Catheter(permanent leg bag)?
1. Avoid drinking 2-3 before trip starts, which ever transportation you use.
2. All the above suggestions
3. Use the restroom at the air port as close as possible to take off.
4. If on a long distance flight, ask for airline blankets to serve as curtains, ask the(same gender) stewardess or Stewart to hold the "curtain "up to shield you from the other passengers, an do your stuff, and catheterize yourself. The above holds true for immobile people, others: use the on boar restroom as often you can.
5. Using a clock to time your intervals, and know how much your bladder can hold, is also a solution to avoid undesirable situations.
Hope this helps, this is from personal experience since my wife is paralyzed.
My husband has dementia (going on six years now), and we do not travel. We stay home. I wouldn't go through all that rigamarole to travel from one place to another for all the tea in China!!!