Don’t Let Incontinence Spoil Your Holiday
Last month saw the hottest June day for over 45 years. Summer has certainly arrived, though in typical UK fashion that could be it!
With the kids getting close to breaking up from school, people are getting ready to enjoy their summer holidays whether in the UK or somewhere further afield.
Unfortunately for many individuals dealing with incontinence, holidays either do not happen or are a time of dread and worry.
You only have to search the forums to find stories like this;
I have had persistent diarrhea since having my gallbladder removed 20 years ago. Now I have developed a weak anal sphincter for no known reason it seems and am now having accidents which are utterly ruining my life and I had to give up a job I loved. Tried medication, diet, sacral nerve stimulator, sphincter bulking with no improvement though my anxiety levels are now very high which is not helping the problem at all. I am becoming housebound and desperate. Have not had a holiday for 10 years and my hubby is fed up of waiting.
While it may not be possible to cure incontinence overnight, there are certain safeguards that you can adopt to reduce the risk of accidents and embarrassment.
Taking a holiday is important as it takes you away from your everyday life where incontinence has a big bearing. It can also be important for your spouse and children to enjoy relaxing away from home.
You should always remember that incontinence is often a burden but it should never stop you enjoying things like a holiday with your loved one.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of that well-deserved break;
Planning is Key
Depending on how severe your incontinence is and whether it is urinary or faecal, some simple preparation can make life much easier when away from home.
The initial journey whether by car, train, boat or plane is the first thing to consider.
If your trip involves a long car journey then plan which service stations you will stop at, the UK motorway network is blessed with plenty of places to stop and refresh.
The toilet facilities at these locations are usually first class with many of them having shower facilities as well as a shop selling things like tissues and wet wipes.
If you are travelling by coach, make sure before you book your holiday, that the coach will have toilet facilities on board.
If your holiday involves travelling from a UK airport then ensure that you have visited the toilet before you board the aircraft, again some airport toilets also have shower facilities if required.
It is advisable that when booking any flight, you should try and arrange an aisle seat, this makes it much easier to access the on-board toilets. You can even pre-book seats close to the toilets.
If you have (or have had) young children you will know that travelling with them on an aeroplane can be a testing experience and it is always good practice to create an ‘essentials’ pack that includes, wipes, tissues, disposable bags etc. well, if you take this concept and apply it to your incontinence then you will be prepared for any eventuality should it happen!
Inside of your hand luggage, you should have your ‘incontinence pack’ that meets the carry-on size restrictions, and ensure that you stock it with at least some of the following items.
- Hand Wipes and some form of cleansing product with antibacterial properties.
- A spare set of clothes and underwear
- Disposable bags that can be sealed once full, to place wet clothes in and also to put in used pads that are to be disposed of.
It’s important to carry spare pads and underwear just in case your luggage goes astray!
Also, consider what you wear – dark clothes do not show the contrast between damp and dry fabric as obviously as pale colours.
It’s worth also bearing in mind that your clothing needs to be easily managed, there is no point wearing skinny jeans when you might have to accommodate incontinence pads and struggle in the confines of an aeroplane toilet.
Consider What You Eat And Drink
For anyone that has lived with incontinence for any period, you will have a good idea how best to manage it, regarding the different food types and liquids you consume.
It goes without saying that you should minimise the volume of fluid you drink prior to a flight while ensuring that you stay hydrated, this basically means replacing caffeine and alcohol with water or water-based drinks.
Finally, when on holiday there is always the temptation to overindulge with food and alcohol but remember that your body may not be as accommodating to the oils and spices used in food and we all know that ‘one too many’ drinks can cause problems the following day!
At Your Destination
Always be prepared… when you go out on day trips, always ensure that you have the essential provisions and use your mobile phone to help find places such as public toilets or bars and restaurants.
Recent legislation within Europe means that you can now use your mobile phone data free of charge anywhere in Europe so make use of those maps on your phone!
It's also worth making sure that if you need bed pads that you have arranged this with your accommodation provider and perhaps also have taken some with you.
If you are traveling in the UK you can always arrange for a delivery of disposable incontinence products to your holiday address.
Don’t Forget to Exercise
Yes, you are on holiday but pelvic floor exercises can be completed anywhere at any time of the day, so make sure you remain focused and dedicated to completing them. Also if you're holidaying by the sea, there is nothing better than a quick walk along the seafront, you will certainly feel better for it and the exercise is great for strengthening your core muscles.
Summer is here, go out and enjoy the sunshine, the new experiences and time with your loved ones. Incontinence can be managed providing you plan and prepare, it shouldn’t ever spoil your holiday time.