If this is your first summer with incontinence and you’re concerned about wearing a bathing suit and heading to the beach or pool, the first thing to know is that you’re not alone. Approximately 50% of women over 65 in America experience some urinary incontinence. But there is a way for you to feel confident and beautiful in a bathing suit, despite incontinence.
7 Tips For Handling Incontinence At The Beach Or Poolside
The first step to feeling confident at the poolside or beach is to wear a bathing suit that fits you properly and to know that you’re covered in case of leaks. We have more to say on this in the next section, so keep reading.
Another key factor in feeling confident is to wear a coverup if you’re self-conscious about your bathing suit or body, and then to let yourself focus on having fun, rather than on minimizing exposure. Look around at the other bodies on the beach, and you’ll see you’re not the only one with some “imperfections.” Everyone has something they’d rather not show, but going to the beach should be about having fun, so keep your mind on spending time with the people you care about and you won’t be thinking about your body.
Wear an Incontinence Swimsuit
We’ve come a long way since the early days of incontinence products. No more diapers or thick padded underwear, you can use incontinence swimsuits and underwear without anyone (not even your partner) knowing the difference.
There are a few great brands that make good-looking swimsuits in a variety of sizes and colours. Some of our favourites include Knix, Splash About, and Swimmates. Whatever you do, don’t use regular incontinence products in the pool, they’ll absorb the water like they would urine, so you’ll be left with heavy bottoms and no protection – not exactly what you had in mind for a nice day at the beach.
Locate Restrooms in Advance
If you know where the restrooms are and use them every hour or two, you may avoid accidents in the first place! At the same time, you’ll feel more confident and relaxed if you aren’t running to the bathroom at the last minute, definitely a plus.
Mind Your Drinks
Drink water throughout the day. Skipping hydration could do more harm to your bladder than good, by causing irritation. And while you’re planning a big day out, like a beach or poolside stay, you may want to avoid caffeine. It’s hard not to drink soda or coffee when you’re enjoying a day in the sun, but your bladder will thank you!
Bring an Incontinence Towel or Mat
Stay covered, not only with an incontinence bathing suit, but a towel as well. You can use a large PeapodMat incontinence towel to stay fully covered, or a small mat for sitting on the pool deck or for adding on top of your regular towel. These mats are discrete and fully leakproof, so no one would even notice that you’re using an incontinence mat.
Talk to your doctor or urologist about getting an insert, these are temporary tampon-like devices that are inserted to support the urethra and prevent leaking. Some inserts are available over the counter, but we recommend you talk to your doctor first to determine if these are the right choice for you.
Don't Skip Swimming!
Lastly, our advice is that you have fun and enjoy the day! You certainly deserve it. Spend time in the water, play with your kids or grandkids, and let yourself let loose! Life is too short to let incontinence let you down.
Planning ahead can help you make the most of your day while alleviating any anxiety that you might be feeling. Locate the restrooms, wear a comfortable, absorbent swimsuit, and have an incontinence towel on hand. In addition, bring an extra change of clothes and underwear and a set of baby wipes with you. You can use a plastic bag or specialized incontinence bag to keep soiled clothes (along with any odour) contained.
If you’re making regular trips to the bathroom and following the rest of our guidance, you can avoid soiled clothing altogether! Most importantly, enjoy yourself! Summer is limited, and you should have the freedom to enjoy yourself.
Read more: Dating with incontinence