Don't let incontinence get in the way of your travel plans

Standing in line at airport security is often a tedious wait, but for those with an unpredictable bladder, the fear of losing control can quickly turn a dream holiday into a nightmare. Research conducted by Depend® has shown that thousands of people aged 40 and over are deeply impacted by bladder problems, undermining self-confidence, increasing anxiety, limiting choices of activities and, most importantly, disrupting their travel plans.

While a quarter of people found it affected their everyday travel, this almost doubled when longer trips were considered. Retirement is a time to travel and enjoy socialising with family and friends. Unfortunately, for the majority of people affected by bladder leakage or incontinence, the fear of bladder leakage accidents remained at the back of your mind and more than half of the people surveyed (54%) said that their bladder control impacted their self-confidence.

Fortunately, there are many practical ways of managing bladder leakage so you can lead a more active life and fulfill your holiday dreams. Joanne, a Neurological Continence Nurse Consultant and former academic at the Australian Catholic University (ACU National), offers some tips below on how to do just that:

Plan ahead before you travel. Book your seats ahead, be it by bus, train or flight travel, so you’re situated closer to toilets and seated in an aisle seat. Travelling around New Zealand by car? Don’t let your route be the only thing you map out. Access the National Public Toilet Map, a great online and downloadable resource with information on publicly available toilets across New Zealand.

No matter where you are going, stock up on your protective supplies before leaving home. It will help you avoid the stress of trying something new or having to go without. If you are amongst the many who use a sanitary pad and not a product designed specifically for moderate to high volume urine loss consider swapping over. Depend ® has developed an online tool to help you find the right product and protection for your needs.

Don’t be tempted to reduce your intake of fluids as this will not reduce your risk of leakage; instead choose your drinks wisely. Avoid caffeine, a natural diuretic (chemicals that make you need to pass urine) and bladder irritant, and ensure you drink between five to eight glasses of water each day. If you don’t drink enough fluids you will reduce your bladder's capacity and actually increase your bladder sensitivity.

Up to 70 per cent of people suffering from bladder leakage do not seek professional help for their condition. Don’t be one of them. If you need some advice call the Continence NZ Helpline on 0800 650 659 to speak to a continence nurse specialist.

Joanne Lawrence is a Neurological Continence Nurse Consultant and former academic at the ACU National. For more information and advice visit