Stay­ing dry

Hav­ing uri­nary leaks does not mean you have to can­cel your travel plans.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - T WOMAN -

MOST peo­ple love to travel as a means of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing new sights and sounds. For many, the ex­cite­ment be­gins as soon as they de­cide to take a hol­i­day. Pin­ning down the des­ti­na­tion and mak­ing the nec­es­sary travel ar­range­ments is half the fun.

For peo­ple with uri­nary leaks, how­ever, it may be a to­tally dif­fer­ent story al­to­gether. Just hear­ing the word “travel” may make them re­lease an in­vol­un­tary gasp. Their ap­pre­hen­sion grows as the travel itin­er­ary un­rav­els, and they may even plot schemes to avoid join­ing the trip all to­gether.

While oth­ers are en­vi­sion­ing a plea­sur­able beach hol­i­day, peo­ple with uri­nary leaks are won­der­ing how to en­dure the jour­ney there. While friends dis­cuss spa and sauna op­tions, they have to check out where the near­est toi­let is.

“Travel is usu­ally not a favourite ac­tiv­ity of peo­ple with uri­nary leaks,” says con­sul­tant gy­nae­col­o­gist Dr Seri Su­niza Su­fian. “They worry about wet­ting their cloth­ing and smelling bad, not be­ing able to get to the toi­let in time, and trou­bling oth­ers to make mul­ti­ple toi­let stops.”

Some­times, it’s not just about for­go­ing hol­i­days. Many women se­cretly mourn not be­ing able to visit their far­away chil­dren, best friends or fam­ily for fear they might face em­bar­rass­ing “ac­ci­dents” dur­ing the jour­ney.

“Uri­nary leaks can re­ally af­fect one’s qual­ity of life if they don’t take the nec­es­sary steps to man­age it well,” stresses Dr Seri.

How­ever, hav­ing uri­nary leaks should not im­prison peo­ple to their homes.

With proper plan­ning and man­age­ment, peo­ple with uri­nary leaks can still en­joy trav­el­ling and an out­door life. Two months be­fore the trip you could: > Start prac­tis­ing Kegel’s Ex­er­cises if you haven’t al­ready started. If you are al­ready do­ing these ex­er­cises to strengthen the in­ter­nal mus­cles, in­ten­sify the prac­tice by ex­er­cis­ing more of­ten.

> Look into the itin­er­ary to know what to ex­pect and how to pre­pare for it. For in­stance, ex­tra prepa­ra­tion is re­quired for jour­neys along bumpy roads, happy get-to­geth­ers and fruit-eat­ing ses­sions as these are oc­ca­sions where you may jerk, laugh and cough more, which may make you leak more.

> Per­form blad­der re­train­ing ex­er­cises to im­prove urine con­trol. Start by hold­ing for 30 min­utes, then slowly stretch­ing it to an hour, 90 min­utes and a max­i­mum of two hours.

> See a doc­tor to dis­cuss whether you need med­i­ca­tion to re­duce mus­cle tone and im­prove urge in­con­ti­nence, such as creams or tablets. One week be­fore: > Pack early to avoid missing any­thing im­por­tant that can spoil your trip.

> Don’t for­get to pack prod­ucts for the man­age­ment of your uri­nary leaks, such as uri­nary pads that can ab­sorb high amounts of liq­uids and also con­ceal bad odour.

> Also pack uri­nary pads in your hand carry, in case your suit­case gets rerouted some­where else and takes longer to ar­rive.

> Prac­tice re­lax­ation tech­niques to give your­self a more pos­i­tive out­look about your in­con­ti­nence prob­lem. Tell your­self it’s just a nor­mal body func­tion and that it’s noth­ing to be ashamed of. You’ll find your­self not only look­ing for­ward to the trip but also man­ag­ing it bet­ter through­out! Dur­ing the travel pe­riod: > Have ex­tra plas­tic bags at hand to dis­pose of your used pads dis­creetly af­ter use.

> Watch your diet. Avoid spicy foods, caf­feine and al­co­hol which in­creases urine pro­duc­tion. Don’t smoke and drink cold wa­ter as they can make you cough more, hence leak more.

> Visit the toi­let ev­ery few hours to avoid hav­ing an over­full blad­der.

Most im­por­tantly, peo­ple with uri­nary leaks must be brave enough to voice their prob­lems be it to a doc­tor or a uri­nary leak helpline to get help.

Be­ing open about your prob­lem will help you un­der­stand that you are not alone and that help is avail­able. Hav­ing in­con­ti­nence is no rea­son to be­come a so­cial recluse. n This ar­ti­cle is brought to you by Poise prod­ucts to raise aware­ness on uri­nary leaks and its im­pact on the qual­ity of life.

For the year-end trav­el­ling sea­son, Poise prod­ucts is host­ing a MoreTrav­el­ling con­test to en­cour­age women who are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the con­di­tion to help them get more out of life.

Win­ners will be re­warded with tick­ets to Gold Coast, Aus­tralia, and hol­i­day pack­ages. For de­tails, visit poise.com.my or call the Con­sumer Care­line at 1-800-82-1188.

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