Friday, January 18, 2013

Interstitial Cystitis and Traveling (Car Trips)

staying comfortable with bladder pain in the car
Many IC patients see my pictures on Facebook and wonder how I can engage in some of the activities I do, in particular, traveling and taking vacations. Certainly, traveling with IC can require some creativity and a healthy dose of problem solving, but it is definitely worth it! 

We only have one life to live and after almost two years doing nothing when I was diagnosed, I made up my mind I was going to live! Some of my first trips were day trips across the state to take my children to camp about four hours from our house. At first I was embarrassed to stop to use the restroom so often during such a short trip, but if I was going to be any sort of mother at all, I knew I needed to develop coping skills. 

Other things that can help you if you need to travel in the car for long distances:
  • Use special pelvic seat cushions that you can buy from the Interstitial Cystitis Network. 
  • Take a bladder analgesic before you leave on your trip.  Medications like phenazopyridine hydrocholoride (brand names AZO Standard, Pyridium, and other over the counter versions sold at your pharmacy) and Uribel (a combination medication) can help make your ride more comfortable. Note: Always consult your physician before you use a medication, and be aware that bladder analgesics can turn your urine (and thus stain your clothing) a bright orange or blue color. You might want to take precautions by wearing a personal liner or pad.
  • Learn to use your GPS or smartphone to find bathrooms along your route. Sometimes just knowing where they are is enough to take the edge off. (There are many, but here are a couple I found for you to try. Please do research before you purchase. Android or iPhone)
  • Take your own food and water with you if you are diet sensitive. Crackers, plain sandwiches, cut carrots and celery, pears, and muffins are easily transported. You can even make your own trail mix with white chocolate chips, bladder safe nuts, mini-pretzels, and IC safe cereals. Alternatives are simple, condiment free hamburgers from fast food restaurants, some chicken nuggets/tenders (know what you can eat safely), pretzels, nuts, salads without dressing (yes you can do it!), and even vanilla milk shakes.
  • Finally, if you are a passenger and not the driver, take a pillow, blanket, some soothing music or meditations, and even ear plugs along to rest and/or even sleep part of the way.
How do you cope having interstitial cystitis and longer car trips? Please share your traveling and/or Smartphone ideas with other patients in the comments below.

For more information on traveling with IC, see:

Confident Choices IC Diet Facebook Page 
Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet: A Confident Choices Book

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Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate

Helping Yourself Is the First Step to Getting Well

For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.

For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder

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