Written by: Dr. Lisa English, PT, DPT, WCS
Planning a vacation? I know you can’t wait to get a little bit of time to yourself, and practice some self care! But don’t forget that continued self care to your pelvic floor! When you travel, more often than not there can be some significant changes to your body’s routine, and that can affect how your pelvic floor is functioning! Here are some tips that can keep your pelvic floor happy so you can focus on absolutely nothing beyond enjoying your best life!
Stay hydrated and empty your bladder regularly! Keeping a water bottle with you in the car or with your luggage can be a good reminder to stay hydrated. Also, you want to aim for voiding your bladder every 3-4 hours, and have light yellow urine. If you’re traveling for a long time in the car, plan breaks around times to go to the bathroom! And while we know people can have a ‘yuck’ relationship with public toilets, do not hover over the toilet seats! Use the sanitary pads, toilet paper, or keep a small container of wipes to clean the seat first. Your pelvic floor should be relaxing to let your urine out, and can’t do that if you’re holding a squat!
It’s also important to stay regular with your bowel movements! This can be difficult when altering your daily schedule with time zone changes or a different diet. But our bowels love routine! Keep fiber gummies or pills with you so you can stay regular with fiber intake, making bowel movements easier! Try to go in the morning after coffee or a meal, which is the most common timing for bowel movements. And if you need a little extra help keeping your pelvic floor relaxed, use a suitcase or hotel trashcan as a squatty potty to get your knees up!
Pelvic Floor Health Tips:
For those of you with more sensitive vulvas, prone to irritation or infections, bring your own soap that is hypoallergenic to wash your pelvic area. Hotel soaps can have added fragrances or chemicals that may irritate sensitive tissues. Use water only on the inside or your labia to rinse sand and saltwater out. Also, cotton underwear is preferred if you’re traveling to a more humid environment so you can prevent added moisture that increases yeast infection risk. And finally, after your trip to the pool, hot tub, or swim in the ocean, change out of your bathing suit and into dry clothing as soon as you can!
I really want you to have an amazing vacation, so adhering to some or all of these suggestions can reduce the chance of some minor pelvic floor issue nagging you while you are just trying to get away from it all! No, go enjoy your future adventure!