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Travel Bladder Tips from a Pelvic Health Therapist

By Jennifer Spencer, PT, DPT, CLT, OCS

Embarking on a road trip can offer enjoyable moments, but it can also become stressful, especially when grappling with bladder-related concerns. Nothing can cast a shadow over a road trip quite like the need for frequent restroom stops or the unwelcome occurrence of bladder leakage. To enhance your road trip experience, consider incorporating these straightforward suggestions to ensure your bladder remains content throughout the journey.

Strategize Your Rest Stops

Understand that it’s normal to need a restroom break every 2-4 hours during the day. Plan your rest stops within this timeframe to align with your natural patterns.

Resist the Urge Strategically

If the urge to urinate strikes and a rest stop is not immediately accessible, employ these techniques to manage the situation. Take five slow, deep breaths in and out, followed by five contractions of the pelvic floor muscles. If the rest stop is still a distance away, maintain this pattern while distracting yourself. Try singing songs, counting backwards anywhere from 100-1000, call a friend to chat, or anything else to distract your mind from your need to urinate. Upon reaching the rest stop, continue the slow deep breaths as you walk and avoid running to the restroom.

Steer Clear of Bladder Irritants

Certain beverages like soda, tea, and coffee can irritate the bladder, increasing the frequency of restroom stops. Consider limiting the intake of these bladder irritants to reduce the urge to urinate frequently during your road trip. If you do need a jolt of energy, be sure to drink at least 8 ounces of water before and after your consumption of caffeine. Other bladder irritants include citrus fruits and juices, dairy, sugary drinks, drinks with artificial sweeteners, spicy food and drinks, and any carbonated drink.

Prioritize Proper Restroom Habits

During quick restroom stops, refrain from attempting to expedite the urination process, commonly known as “power-peeing.” Opt to sit down on the toilet rather than hovering, as hovering can hinder the relaxation of pelvic floor muscles, making it harder for urine to flow naturally. Take deep breaths when you sit to fully relax your pelvic floor muscles; this assists with complete emptying of the bladder.

Implementing these tips on your next road trip can contribute to a more comfortable journey. If bladder issues persist despite these strategies, consider consulting with a Pelvic Health Therapist to identify and address the underlying causes of your concerns. Help can be found at Magic City Physical Therapy in Hoover, Alabama!


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