Are you worried about the upcoming holidays and managing your overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms while you celebrate with family?
You can still party hard – or enjoy laidback nights binging holiday flicks – with family and friends even if you suffer from urinary
incontinence or bladder leakage. It just takes a bit of planning and some extra steps to avoid embarrassing accidents and odors.
Prevent Accidents by Avoiding Foods that Irritate Your Bladder
Everyone is different, and foods that aggravate your OAB condition may vary. It helps to keep a food and beverage journal to find
connections between the foods you eat and when you have an urgent need to go.
In general, try to avoid citrus fruits and other foods with high acidic content, foods high in sugar and other natural sweeteners, and anything with caffeine (including chocolate – sorry!)
Additionally, even though alcohol tends to a centerpiece of many holiday celebrations, avoid it as much as possible. Family and friends shouldn’t press you about your refusal to imbibe. If they do, carry a highball glass of ice water and let them assume you’ve gone hardcore with vodka on the rocks.
Minimize Odors by Staying Hydrated
Those with OAB know leakage can happen – anywhere and anytime, no matter how well you prepare. Stay hydrated to avoid overly strong odors. When you’re dehydrated, your urine will have a strong ammonia smell since it is more concentrated.
Doctors say 40 oz. of liquid per day can help. And here’s a pleasant surprise! Those fluids can come from any beverages, along with water in the foods we eat, including high-water content foods like lettuce and celery. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can aid with hydration.
Also, consider carrying a large water refillable water bottle; some people get a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment from finishing and refilling their water bottle many times a day.
Bring Products to Protect Against Leaks
Sometimes incontinence pads can provide that extra confidence you need to go the distance when you’re hanging out in a crowd for hours. If you’ve taken steps to minimize strong-smelling urine, incontinence pads can hide unsightly leaks. Bring a supply so you can change one immediately if it becomes wet, further preventing odor.
Focus on Hygiene
If leakage does occur, clean up promptly to minimize odors. Pack spare underwear – even if you’re only visiting for a day trip.
You may also wish to pack a set of comfy clothes. If you leak through and have to change your entire outfit, you can emerge in leggings and a hoodie. Mention you just couldn’t stand wearing that dress and high heels any longer to avoid odd glances leading to embarrassing explanations.
Be Prepared for Sleepovers
If you’re staying overnight in a family’s home, consider packing a bedwetting pad to protect the bedding. If you have an accident, the pad protects the sheets and mattress from wetness and odors. Don’t be embarrassed to ask your hostess if you can toss in a load of laundry the following morning. If that’s not possible, seal the pad in an oversized zipper bag until you get home. In a pinch, a towel can also work to protect sheets in someone’s home.
Don’t Worry If the Party Comes Home
What if you’re the one tasked with hosting relatives for overnight stays during the holidays?
First, don’t panic.
Spray down upholstery in your home with a solution of white vinegar and water. You can also add lemon or peppermint essential oils to add a pleasing scent while neutralizing odors.
Make sure to stay on top of washing bed linens as needed. Take advantage of aromatherapy products like candles or essential oil diffusers to give your home a pleasing, seasonal scent when guests arrive – and all season long!