Traveling With Incontinence

Feel comfortable traveling despite bladder control.
Many people put off seeing the world until they are older. Unfortunately aging is often accompanied by achy joints, various conditions, and in many cases incontinence. Bladder control problems should not prevent you from being able to travel. A few simple changes to your routine can help you feel comfortable traveling despite bladder control. 

1. Ask your urologist for medications.

When you are thinking of heading out to visit family, see the world, or even travel for business, and you are worried about incontinence, ask your doctor for medication. Medications work better if they are used as a short term option, than a long term option. Other management options and strategies are more effective when you are at home, but for your travels, this could be a good option. You may need to start taking medications a few days or a week in advance of traveling for them to work most effectively, so talk to your doctor early.

2. Strengthening exercises.

Incontinence is not an inevitable part of aging, but often as we age, pelvic muscles weaken. If you want to travel without leaking, do strengthening exercises. Kegels are a proven help for bladder control. If you are already doing them and don’t feel like they are helping, talk to your doctor about whether or not you are doing them correctly. They can help you pinpoint the muscles you need to work on, and strengthen that pelvic floor so that stress incontinence is less of an issue.

3. Have a plan.

The best thing you can do to travel with confidence despite incontinence is to have a plan. That plan should include things like:
  • Book tickets with care, choosing seats near a bathroom, and layovers that provide plenty of time for bathroom breaks. 
  • Take bathroom breaks. 
  • Buy supplies. Even if you plan well, you may leak, so using absorbent products can be very helpful. There are many low profile options that are not noticeable and that have odor protection that can help you make it through long flights. 
4. Consider options for management.

If you are taking a long trip, talk to your doctor about urethral plugs, portable catheters, and other ways to get short term, but effective protection. Combine these with medication, absorbent products, and a smart plan for peace of mind.

5. Learn how to ask for the bathroom in local language.

If you are traveling abroad, a great way to ease your mind is to learn a few phrases for finding bathrooms so that you do not feel lost. In addition, because bathrooms in foreign countries are notoriously not that great, bring along a pack of supplies including sanitation supplies, cleaning supplies, and absorbent products.

6. Stay hydrated, but choose your beverages and timing carefully.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other diuretics. Beer, wine, many sodas, coffee, all can increase the urge to go. Skip these while flying and driving. Sip water instead, and make sure you don’t drink too much if you have long stretches without bathroom breaks.

Taking a few precautions, planning well, and using the right supplies can make traveling with incontinence possible. 

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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