How to deal with continence issues whilst travelling

For the 1 in 5 Australians who experience continence issues, travelling can be a daunting experience.

There’s many things to consider: products to bring, clothes to wear and proximity to bathrooms.

But it doesn’t have to ruin your holiday, here’s how to have a carefree, amazing trip without the worry.

1. Urgency incontinence

If you have urgency incontinence, you can definitely still travel. If you’re worried you’ll have an accident on a long-haul flight, there’s no need to worry. You can organise an aisle seat close to the toilet, as well as cut down on diuretic drinks such as coffee and alcohol.

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Make sure you have enough continence products with you and have some wipes, spare clothes and sealable bags with you. You can also purchase absorbable seat pads.

2. I can’t use a squat toilet

Squat toilets aren’t always easy to use, especially if you have mobility issues or sore joints. If this is an issue, you can purchase a female urinal, which is a funnel shaped device that directs the stream of urine into the toilet, allowing you to urinate standing up. Most countries that use predominantly squat toilets will have Western toilets, so ask the hotel before you go.

3. Will I be able to buy continence products overseas?

Continence products are usually available in most pharmacies or supermarkets in developed countries, though it is advised to bring extras if you are visiting a non-developed country.

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4. I am disabled and need to use the bathroom when I travel around Australia, what do I do?

As you may already know, public toilets in Australia have a Master Lock on them after a certain time of day – there’s a way around this. You can purchase a Master Locksmiths Access Key (MLAK). It’s an innovative system that enables people with disabilities to gain 24/7 access to a network of public facilities.

The MLAK system has been fitted to elevators at railway stations, accessible toilets in Council municipalities and National Parks and in adaptive playground equipment across Australia.

People with a disability are able to purchase an MLAK master key which will open all toilets, playgrounds and other facilities which are fitted with this specially designed lock.

To find your nearest Master Locksmith, click here

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5. How do I stop constipation when I travel?

Many people experience constipation when they travel, especially if they have other incontinence issues. Take every measure to avoid constipation before the flight by increasing your fluid intake and eating a balanced diet.

Travelling with incontinence checklist

  • 6-8 weeks in advance of your trip discuss your travel plans with your GP.
  • Talk to your doctor about medicines to take away with you. Do you need prescription medicines or products? Be sure to keep your medicines in their original packaging when travelling overseas.
  • Plan each stage of your trip accordingly. If you wear absorbent pads for bladder leakage, allow an extra supply for unexpected delays.
  • Check about possible extra luggage allowance when booking if you’re taking a large supply of continence products.
  • Inform airline staff of your needs so you can board the plane first.
  • Choose clothes in dark colours that are easy to remove and comfortable to wear.
  • Take along a small toilet bag in your carry-on bag, plus a change of clothing. Disposable wipes are handy generally and especially good for faecal incontinence.
  • Stretch and walk as much as you can, to help with circulation and digestion. Seated exercises are also helpful.

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