If you experience incontinence, you may find it daunting or difficult to go swimming at the beach or public pool. Thankfully, there are tips you can try to feel much more comfortable and confident.
4 Tips For How to Enjoy The Pool or Beach With Incontinence
How to Enjoy Pool or Beach with Incontinence
If you are managing continence, it might be difficult to go to the beach or a public pool in the summer. Depending on your level of incontinence, there are few things you can do to feel more at ease.
Summer is a wonderful time of year. Most people will head to their nearest beach, pool or waterpark during the warmers months to cool of and have some fun with their family and friends.
For those with incontinence, these experiences can unfortunately bring quite a lot of stress and anxiety. This can be because of a number of reasons, such as they feel like they can't comfortably wear swimwear and disguise their continence aids or they fear they'll experience leakage in the water.
We're here to tell you that just because you have incontinence, doesn't mean you can't enjoy swimming! These 4 tips for how to enjoy the beach or pool with incontinence will give you added peace of mind and confidence to enjoy the warmer months with your loved ones.
Don't stress about small leaks
It’s important to understand that leaking urine or completely voiding your bladder in the ocean is completely harmless and many people, even without incontinence, do this.
If you only experience light bladder leakage or drips, swimming in a pool is also ok. However, you should try to empty your bladder before jumping in if possible as urine mixed with chlorine can cause some skin irritations - on yourself and others.
If you experience heavy urine leakage, uncontrollable bladder voids or faecal incontinence, it's important to both empty your bladder and/or bowel before swimming and also invest in incontinence swimwear (more on this shortly).
1. Prepare before entering the water
As we just mentioned, emptying your bladder and/or bowel before diving into some water is crucial.
You must also remove any incontinence aids that are not designed to be swum in - such as pads and guards, pull-ups and slips.
This is because incontinence aids will absorb the water you are swimming in. Not only will this be extremely uncomfortable for you, it can also lead to the aid bursting or breaking. The super absorbent polymers in pads, pull-ups and slips can be detrimental to pool filters and to marine life in open ocean and waterways.
2. Invest in quality incontinence swimwear
Thankfully you can purchase specially-made incontinence swimwear for both children and adults. Before you buy, just make sure the swimwear you're choosing is suited to your type and level of incontinence to avoid any unwanted accidents at the beach or pool.
We advise once you are out of the water to change out of the swimwear and apply a pad or guard into the swimwear until you are ready to re-enter the water. This will give you added absorbency and protection.
3. Look into other incontinence devices
Aside from incontinence swimwear, there are some other devices that can be worn to asisst with controlling leaks while swimming.
For women, there is a pessary device which they insert into their vaginas to apply pressure against the urethra. This helps stem the flow of urine. It’s like a tampon but very different in its actions. Whilst not suited to everyone, it’s a device that can reduce the flow for the time you want to swim and is discreet and easy to use.
Men can use a penile clamp or cuff, which will also stem the flow of urine while swimming. Most men report that they are relatively comfortable once they get used to them but it will depend on the individual’s tolerance. It works by compressing the urethra so urine can’t escape. It’s placed halfway down the length of the penis. These are designed for short-term use and should be released every 1 – 2 hours depending on the manufacturer’s directions.
Both of these devices can have side effects if not used correctly or used too often, so always seek the advice of your GP or continence nurse before using them.
4. Choose your food and drinks wisely!
What you eat and drink before and during your pool or beach day can have an impact on your incontinence symptoms.
Avoid food and drinks known to irritate the bladder and bowel, including caffeine, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, acidic foods (fruits, tomatoes) and alcohol.
Instead, hydrate with water and opt for snacks such as carrots, celery and berries that are more gentle on your bladder and bowel. Always speak to your GP, dietitian and/or continence nurse before making changes to your diet.
At ConfidenceClub, we are firm believers in living your life to the fullest. Just because you are incontinent doesn’t mean you need to stop doing the things you love. We acknowledge incontinence means we need to plan ahead and perhaps change a few things, but all is achievable.
Enjoy the summer warmth, remember to slip, slop and slap and make memories in the sun and water without living in fear!