Millions of women live with incontinence, or the inability to hold their urine. Whether caused by the results of childbirth or menopause, incontinence is a common but often embarrassing problem. In addition to urinary leakage, many people also experience overactive bladder.
Managing your incontinence can be a headache in the most uncomplicated circumstances. But it can become a real challenge during the holidays, especially if you’re traveling or going on long shopping sprees to buy gifts. In this blog, Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, offers some tips on how to manage your incontinence during the holidays.
You shouldn’t stop drinking water, of course. Staying hydrated is important, and intentionally restricting water intake can lead to problems. However, downing a big drink — especially before traveling — can be a recipe for trouble.
However, when you do hydrate, choose noncaffeinated drinks, as caffeine may irritate your bladder and may cause more urinary urgency, as can carbonated beverages and alcohol.
If you’re traveling, plan for delays in your trip. If you’re traveling by car, for example, you may want to find a restroom before passing through a large city, where there are more likely to be traffic delays.
Similarly, flight delays are extremely common. So find out where the bathrooms are and use them at your earliest convenience.
Even if you’re only going out on a long shopping trip for holiday gifts, it’s always a good idea to take extra clothes and underwear in case of accidents. The last thing that you want in such a situation is to need to change your clothes and have to go back home. Preparing doesn’t mean that you’ll have such an accident, but just that you’ll be covered if it should happen.
Kegel exercises, which can help with bladder control, involve contracting the muscles within your pelvis and vagina. To practice Kegel exercises, imagine that you’re holding a small ball within your vagina, and try to contract the muscles to squeeze and hold it in place for a few seconds.
Maintaining a healthy diet can be more challenging, especially when you’re traveling. But it’s worth the effort to prevent constipation. Being constipated can make urinary incontinence worse. Eat a healthy, varied diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and fiber.
Medications may be able to help you control the symptoms of an overactive bladder by decreasing the need to urinate as frequently. Certain medications can be used for a period of time — such as during the holidays — as well as on an ongoing basis.
Traveling with incontinence can be challenging, but you can manage it by planning and being prepared. If you have concerns about traveling and managing incontinence, book an appointment over the phone with the office of Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, today.