By Wendy LaTorre
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.