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Summer is on its way, which means that millions of people will soon be hitting the road for the quintessential American road trip. While getting in the car is a great way to see the country, long car rides can present challenges for people with incontinence since they can’t just rush into the bathroom like they do at home. Here are eight tips to make road trips with incontinence stress-free this summer (and, really, any time of year):
Table of Contents
Talk To Your Doctor Ahead Of Time.
If you want to manage your incontinence via medical means while traveling, you should talk to your doctor a couple of months before your trip. Pretty much every kind of medical invention — including medication, pelvic floor exercises and catheters — will require at least several weeks of trial and error to take effect. Even the catheters will require some experimentation to discover the most comfortable fit and how long you can go before emptying it. Medication will also need time to build in your system, and you’ll also want to confirm that you don’t experience any bad side effects before you start your trip.
Plan Out Your Stops In Advance.
When traveling by car, you can stop whenever you need to. However, there may not always be a bathroom nearby when you need to go. Check the route you want to drive and look for rest stops, gas stations and other places where you can use the restroom. Apps such as Flush and USA Rest Stops can help you find clean, convenient restrooms to use while you are on the road. Make sure that you have backups in case the urge to go strikes you earlier or your intended bathroom is closed for cleaning when you arrive.
Choose Your Outfit Wisely.
When going on a long road trip, comfort is vital. We recommend choosing loose bottoms in dark colors that won’t put pressure on your bladder or show stains in case of small leaks. Now is not the time to wear those tight jeans that cut into your waists or those cute white pants that show every little mark. Go for comfort and practicality, and you won’t be sorry that you did!
Select Heavier Flow Products.
If you’ve been struggling with incontinence for a while, you probably know how heavy your flow is and what level of products to use during the day or night. When traveling, we suggest going up at least one level of absorbency compared to whatever incontinence liner you would typically wear. This is because traveling is very disruptive to your schedule, potentially resulting in more frequent or severe leaks. The extra absorbency will also give you some wiggle room if you can’t change your pads or underwear as often as you would at home.
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Pack a “go” Bag.
The great thing about taking a road trip is that you aren’t limited to a single carry-on or checked bag, meaning that you can bring lots of incontinence products for women and multiple outfit changes to see you through the whole trip. However, we recommend that you pack a small “go bag” that you can take into the bathroom with you if you have an accident while on the road. That way, you don’t have to root around in your luggage in the parking lot in order to find a change of clothes or a fresh bladder leakage pad; you can simply grab the bag and go get changed in the bathroom with a minimum of fuss.
Bring Waterproof Protector Pads.
Accidents sometimes happen despite your best prep work. To help protect your car, we recommend getting a waterproof seat cover to save the upholstery from any potential leaks. This is an especially good investment if you tend to fall asleep on long car rides and struggle with bedwetting during sleep. To that end, you might also wish to get a waterproof mattress protector to put on the bed at your hotel or vacation rental. That will allow you to rest easy without worrying about whether or not you will accidentally soak the mattress in the middle of the night.
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Avoid Bladder Irritants.
You’ve probably heard that you should limit your liquid intake during road trips in order to reduce the need for bathroom stops. While you shouldn’t be pounding back drinks all the time, it is important to stay hydrated, as dehydration can make incontinence worse and encourage your body to retain fluid.
Instead, you should pay more attention to avoiding foods and drinks that make incontinence worse, including caffeine, alcohol, soda, spicy dishes and more. We know it can be hard to avoid certain foods and beverages while traveling since your culinary options are more limited, but it’s worth it to reduce your chances of bladder leakage while on vacation.
Consider Bringing Some Urinary Assistance Devices.
Especially if you plan to drive across the western U.S., you may encounter stretches of several hundred miles where there simply isn’t a single rest stop or gas station. In these situations, having a urinary assistance device that allows you to either pee while standing up or create your own makeshift portapotty to squat over can be a real lifesaver. If your driving route involves long stretches without real bathrooms, definitely save some space in your car for these; they’re also great to have if you camp or hike regularly.
Got other tips for traveling on the road with incontinence? Drop your suggestions so that we can all learn from each other. And, whatever you do, don’t let incontinence deter you altogether from traveling; you deserve to live your life to the fullest with or without incontinence!