Updated 20 July 2016

12 tips to ensure bladder weakness doesn't ruin your holiday plans

With December rapidly approaching, your elderly parents with bladder weakness may be reluctant to join you on a trip. Here are some top tips to help them manage their bladder weakness on holiday.


It’s almost holiday time, and everyone’s mind is on their December destination. If your elderly parents are digging their heels in and insisting on staying at home, however, the problem might be anxiety around bladder weakness. There’s a lot they can do to ensure the two aren’t mutually exclusive – a little planning goes a long way.

Here are some tips you can pass on to them, from leading incontinence product manufacturers, TENA:

1. It starts before you book your tickets – talk to your GP or urologist about medications that might help with bladder control while you’re away. If you’re already on medications, ensure you have enough to take with you for the days you’ll be away, as well as a few extra in case of delays.

2. When you book your tickets you will have to broach the subject with your travel agent and explain that you need to be seated on the aisle and near a toilet, whether you’re travelling by bus or by plane. If there’s no toilet on the bus, ask for a seat near the front so that you can easily exit first at pit stops. You might need to show the airline or bus company a letter from your doctor, so go to the travel agent with the necessary documents.

3. If you’re travelling by plane, also inform the airline that you’d like to board first. This will give you time to arrange your continence products, clothing and carry-on luggage discreetly and calmly. By the time everyone else boards, you’ll be organised.

4. Plan each stage of your trip, ensuring that you pack extra protection pads or disposable pants like TENA’s protective underwear for men and women, in case of transport delays. You don’t want to be caught short.

5. It’s also worth planning for possible overnight delays – if you ordinarily use a product like TENA Slip or TENA Bed at night, take one or two with you in your hand luggage just in case you end up sleeping in a hotel unexpectedly.

6. Also find out whether you’ll be able to purchase your regular products wherever it is you’re going. If not, you might need to arrange an extra luggage allowance if you need to take a large supply of continence products.

7. Wear dark clothing, as any leakage will be less obvious. Also choose items that are easy to remove and comfortable to wear – longer shirts and elasticated waistbands can make life a lot easier.

8. Ladies could carry a sarong or pashmina – either could be used to hide leakage. Even a jacket or jersey can be tied around your waist. A small bag with a change of clothing – or even just a new skirt or pair of pants – is probably also a good idea.

9. If you’re travelling by car, plan realistic toilet stops so you can feel fresh and confident for the entire journey.

10. If you’re on medication, take some lozenges or boiled sweets with you. Many of the medications used to treat bladder weakness can cause a dry mouth, and sucking a sweet can help.

11. Remember to drink bladder-friendly beverages – water really is best. Caffeinated drinks, fizzy drinks, energy drinks and alcohol are all bladder irritants. Spicy and acidic foods are also best avoided.

12. Carry a small supply of toiletries with you in case you need to clean yourself up. Wet wipes are an essential, and they’re great for mopping up spilled food or even shining your shoes if necessary!

Experiencing bladder weakness doesn’t have to mean that your parents have to have a ‘staycation’ this festive season. A little planning and preparation will ensure they have the holiday – and the quality of life – they deserve.

For advice please call us on 0860 673 377. Visit for more information or to order a free sample. You can also buy TENA products online at


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Incontinence Expert

Prenevin Govender completed his MBChB at the University of Cape Town in 2001. He obtained his Fellowship of the College of Urologists in 2009 and graduated with distinction for a Masters in Medicine from the University of Cape Town in 2010. His special interests include laparoscopic, pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence surgery. He consults full-time at Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont.

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