The holidays can be stressful at the best of times, and facing the holiday whirlwind while living with incontinence can be daunting. But a little planning goes a long way, and there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of finding yourself in an embarrassing situation.
Carry a bag with what supplies you may need in a pinch, such as disposable underwear, wipes, a change of clothes, and a plastic bag for soiled clothes.
Plan Your Route Carefully if You’re Traveling
Traveling with incontinence doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does mean you need to plan carefully. Create several alternate routes in case of heavy traffic or unexpected road work. Use travel apps such as Google Maps to plot a course with plenty of bathroom stops.
Know Where the Bathrooms Are, Wherever You Are
Even if you’re not traveling, knowing where the restrooms are ahead of time can be the key to avoiding an accident. If you’re shopping, find out where the restroom is as soon as you enter the store. If you’re attending a party, ask for directions as soon as you can politely do so.
Limit Alcohol and Caffeine
Although the alcohol often flows freely during the holidays, it’s better not to imbibe if you’re not on your home turf. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it will make you need to go even more often than usual.
And caffeine irritates the bladder, so avoiding coffee and cola is a wise idea also, if you do choose to drink alcohol or caffeine, alternate with glasses of water to cut down on bladder irritation.
Avoid Irritating Foods
During the holidays, keep in mind the importance of diet and how what you eat affects your symptoms. What foods to avoid may vary from person to person, but in general, you should steer clear of:
- Tomatoes and tomato-based foods
- Citrus fruits
- Fruit juices
All these foods can irritate the bladder.
Have a Potty Break Before and After Dinner
Having to excuse yourself in the middle of dinner can be an annoyance, so visit the restroom before you sit down for dinner and afterward, too.
Take a Breather if You Need It
Although the reason isn’t clear, it’s a well-documented fact that stress makes one need to pee more frequently. So take a moment for yourself when you’re feeling stressed. Don’t overschedule yourself. And don’t be afraid to say no if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed.
While drinking plenty of water to counteract incontinence may sound counterintuitive, it’s easy to become mildly dehydrated. And dehydration can lead to an irritated bladder, which in turn means more frequent urination and more risk of accidents. So make sure you’re not skimping on the water to avoid trips to the bathroom.
Incontinence doesn’t have to dampen the fun of the holidays. With a bit of planning and the right incontinence supplies, the holidays can still be the most wonderful time of the year.