Tips on travelling with urinary incontinence
Dress comfortably in loose-fitting clothing if you have urinary incontinence as it makes using the restroom during travels easier. (Photo: Pexels)

On ne vit qu'une fois — We only live once! And life is meant for living; therefore, tinkling accidents, whether big or small, should not spoil the party.

The lack of bladder control, often known as urinary incontinence, is a frequent and frequently humiliating issue. The symptoms of this ailment might range from occasionally spilling urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urgent need to urinate that prevents you from reaching a bathroom in time.

Urinary incontinence isn't a natural part of becoming older, despite the fact that it happens more frequently as people age. Do not hesitate to visit your doctor if urinary incontinence interferes with your everyday activities. The majority of people can address their urinary incontinence symptoms with easy food and lifestyle adjustments or medical attention.

Urine leaks are a common but small occurrence. Some people might lose pee in modest to large amounts more frequently.

Types of urinary incontinence include:

Stress incontinence. When you put strain on your bladder, through coughing, sneezing, laughing, working out, or lifting anything heavy, urine leaks.

Urge incontinence. You have an abrupt, strong urge to urinate followed by an uncontrollable loss of urine. You can have frequent urination needs, even at night. An infection or a more serious illness like diabetes or a neurological issue may be the cause of urge incontinence.

Overflow incontinence. You often or continuously urinate because your bladder doesn't entirely empty.

Functional incontinence. You can't get to the bathroom quickly due to a physical or mental handicap. For instance, you might not be able to unbutton your jeans quickly enough if you have severe arthritis.

Mixed incontinence. You have more than one form of urine incontinence; this typically means that you have both urge and stress incontinence.

Too often, though, urinary incontinence disrupts an individual's life when it ought not to. One very common disruption is people being afraid to travel, no matter how enticing the trip seems, lest they have an unpleasant and embarrassing experience.

There are, however, steps that can be taken to ensure that travel doesn't become a hassle or worse, embarrassing.

1. Identify rest stops/bathroom access

When travelling by car, identify the rest stops along the way. You may utilise Google Maps to help to identify these.

If travelling by plane, identify, in the airport, the restrooms near you as well as select seats nearer to exits or aisles and near the bathroom.

2. Limit liquid intake

Fastening seat belts can put pressure on the bladder, even if only little fluid is present. Limit the intake of fluids before the flight, use the bathroom prior to travel, and try to avoid drinking during the flight or ride. It's harder for long trips or flights, at which point you should speak to your urologist. If you must drink, water is better for the bladder than coffee or sodas.

3. Dress for the trip

Dress comfortably in loose-fitting clothing. Don't feel shy to wear protective underwear, such as absorbent underwear or liners, that can be changed.

4. Take extras

Take extra outfits for emergencies as well as extra protective underwear or liners. Also, add a few plastic bags for soiled clothing.

5. Speak to your urologist

Your doctor may make prescriptions for your condition if you visit a few weeks before your trip as some therapies require time. Also, you may discuss the insertion of a catheter to help.

We want you to have a wonderful, incident-free trip next time you travel. Make preparations, and remember — On ne vit qu'une fois.

Dr Jeremy Thomas is a consultant urologist. He works privately in Montego Bay, Savanna-la-Mar, and Kingston and publicly at Cornwall Regional Hospital. He may be contacted on Facebook and Instagram: @jthomasurology or by e-mail:

Dr Jeremy Thomas

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