If you have overactive bladder, you may have learned ways to manage it in your day-to-day life. However, dealing with this issue becomes more difficult while traveling. An expert at Baylor College of Medicine gives tips on how to travel more comfortably with an overactive bladder.
“An overactive bladder can cause discomfort any day, but it can become unbearable when traveling. A little planning and preparation can make all the difference,” said Dr. Alexander Pastuszak, assistant professor of Urology at Baylor.
Overactive bladder is when someone frequently feels like they need to urinate, but doesn’t actually have a full bladder to trigger that sensation, Pastuszak explained. A healthy adult bladder can hold up to 16 ounces of urine, and an average person will urinate anywhere from four to 10 times a day – depending on how much they drink. For someone who has an overactive bladder it can feel like their bladder is holding twice the amount of urine, causing a sudden urge to urinate.
If suffering from overactive bladder, Pastuszak said it is possible to prepare your bladder for a trip by using an exercise technique called bladder training.
Bladder training is a form of behavior therapy that helps with incontinence issues, and regular bladder training may help someone develop a more convenient urination schedule.
“You have to void on a schedule, regardless of whether you actually feel the need to go at that time, and you gradually increase the time between voids. It can be helpful in training yourself not to have to go all the time,” he said.
Individuals who suffer from overactive bladder also should consider exercises to help them deal with their symptoms, as well as medications that can limit their symptoms.
While traveling, Pastuszak usually suggests that patients reduce bladder irritants such as drinking coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks before or during a long trip. He also recommends limiting fluid intake and planning your trip and rest stops ahead of time. “If they need medications or other more advanced therapies, we can help with those as well,” he said.