It is estimated that incontinence affects 33 million Americans. Many people find that their incontinence can impact every part of daily living, including workweek management. With careful preparation, muscle training exercises and by making calculated behavioral changes, working people can manage their incontinence without experiencing embarrassing incidents at the workplace.
Managing incontinence at work requires thoughtful planning and preparation. These tips will help you get through the normal workday without incident.
- Use a restroom at every opportunity. Try not to wait until the situation has become urgent. When you see a restroom, use it.
- While working long hours at your desk, set an alarm to remind yourself to use the bathroom. Setting an alarm on your watch or smart phone will help you avoid an emergency.
- Cut back on your liquid intake at work. Take special care to avoid caffeinated beverages like coffee, soda and tea.
- Keep a change of clothes at your desk. Having an emergency set of pants on hand will give you a backup in the event that your pants become wet or stained. Don't keep this set of clothes in your car if it extends the distance between yourself and your clothes in the event of an accident. Keep extra incontinence briefs or incontinence panties on hand, as well. There are a variety of incontinence undergarments on the market that look natural and normal beneath work clothes.
After-Hours Events and Workplace Parties
Luckily, most workplace parties and events allow people to mingle where they want and come and go as they please. This flexibility can make managing your condition much easier.
- Stay near the bathroom. If there's a restroom to stand near, stay close to it as you talk to friends and coworkers.
- Wear black and dark colored clothes. Black and dark colored clothes are less likely to show stains and accidents.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic drinks. Like coffee, alcohol is a diuretic that will make it harder to wait long periods of time between bathroom breaks.
Long meetings can be one of the most difficult parts of the workweek for many people to handle.
- Prepare for meetings by performing Kegel exercises. Flexing and releasing your pelvic muscles throughout the day can help you build the strength and control that will allow you to get through long meetings comfortably.
- Stop drinking liquids 1-2 hours before heading into a long meeting. When in the meeting, avoid drinking liquids or sip water slowly if you're thirsty.
- Go to the bathroom right before the meeting begins. Duck into the bathroom just before the meeting begins. If there are any breaks during the meeting, take that opportunity to go to the bathroom as well.
- Train your bladder to wait. If you've been setting an alarm clock to remind yourself to go to the bathroom at your desk, start adding 15 minutes to the periods between bathroom breaks, until you're able to go up to 3 hours between bathroom visits.
- Wear incontinence garments. Wearing incontinence garments will keep you comfortable until the long meetings have ended.
- Go to the bathroom when you have to. When you feel an urge to use the bathroom, politely excuse yourself and go. Sit in the seat closest to the door to make your exit as discrete as possible.
For more information about how you can manage your incontinence throughout the workweek, consult with your physician.