Divorce tends to create high amounts of stress, not only for the couples splitting up but for children, as well. The stress of fighting and changes can worsen incontinence symptoms and in some cases cause children to develop urinary issues. However, there are some simple steps you can take to comfort your child and help manage childhood incontinence issues, even when you’re apart.
Managing childhood incontinence issues as a single parent.
When it comes to caring for children who have incontinence, the most important thing to remember is that it’s not their fault. Incontinence is embarrassing and can be a source of anxiety, so if you approach your child with frustration you could make their symptoms worse. Remain calm, even under the pressure of an ongoing divorce. Be strong for your child and reassure them with comfort and support.
There are many causes of incontinence, ranging from urinary tract infections (UTIs) or diabetes too much more complicated conditions, like developmental delays or emotional stress. If your child has urinary incontinence, they may experience:
- Wetting their pants after age six
- Urine leakage
- Frequent urination (eight or more times a day)
- Increased anxiety
- Urges to rush to the bathroom but only passing small amounts of urine
- Infrequent urination (only emptying the bladder two or three times a day)
- Squatting, sitting and leg-crossing to avoid leaking urine
Take your child to the doctor regularly to create an incontinence treatment or management plan. They may need antibiotics to clear up infections, or pelvic exercises to strengthen their muscles. Sometimes, simple surgeries or medications are also needed.
In some cases, incontinence will clear up on its own. Some children need a little work and training to control their symptoms but often, incontinence can be managed with proper supplies to keep your child clean, dry and confident.
Prepping Your Child for Vacation
Part of proper incontinence care involves setting a regular routine for your child but when you take them on vacation or they travel to stay with your ex, family members, or friends, their normal schedule is disrupted, so make sure they’re prepared to travel. They will need the following incontinence supplies:
- Enough diapers to last the entire trip, plus a few extra in case of travel delays.
- Chux or underpads to protect furniture, such as mattresses or car seats.
- A few extra pairs of pajamas and clothes in case of accidents.
- Hand sanitizer, sanitary wipes and changing gloves for cleanups.
- Scented bags to store soiled clothes or incontinence supplies until you can clean or toss them.
- A bag to carry incontinence supplies in during travel.
If you don’t want to bring your incontinence supplies on a plane or in a car, you can ship them to your destination ahead of time. If you’re traveling without your child, make sure they have all their incontinence supplies.
If they have a caregiver, leave a note detailing the urinary issues, regular schedule, dietary limitations and triggers to avoid. This way, they can keep your child safe and clean, and remind them to use the restroom frequently. Of course, share your contact information in case of an emergency. Call them occasionally to check in and make sure everything is alright. Your child may need a pep talk from time to time, but confidence will help them relax and enjoy their trip.
Receiving Incontinence Products Through Insurance
If you’re worried about the monthly cost of incontinence products, relax and qualify to receive them through insurance from a durable medical equipment supplier (DME). The right DME will have a simple process that involves qualifying through a quick and easy online form. They will then verify your insurance coverage and contact you with your options.
Choosing the right incontinence products can be a little intimidating but they’re necessary to properly stop leaks and help your child live comfortably. Speak with your DME representative to make sure your child receives the best items to suit their individual needs.
A proper DME has incontinence specialists that serve as trusted sources and confidently answer all of your questions to help your child maintain normal daily routines. They’ll also check in every month to see if your child needs any changes to their supplies. For example, they may need more absorbent diapers for longer days, or to change sizes after a growth spurt.
Keeping Your Child Comfortable During Travel
Going on a trip could make your child nervous or stressed, as they travel to a new location and don’t want to have an accident. Reassure them that the vacation will be fun and keep them comfortable by:
Planning bathroom trips ahead of time: Ensure your child uses the bathroom every few hours to prevent having to rush to go later. Plan your route ahead of time with scheduled bathroom breaks and give yourself enough time to stop at a restroom before boarding a flight. Before going to a museum or zoo, know where each restroom is located. In the event of an emergency, you can use a bathroom locating app like SitOrSquat to find a sanitary place to go. You can also practice timed voiding by helping your child remember to go every few hours and during common voiding times, such as when they wake up, after meals, when they arrive at a location and before bed.
Pack healthy items: Instead of relying on greasy food on the road, pack healthy items for your child to eat and drink instead. Sugary drinks, sodas, junk food, and spicy food can pressure the bladder and worsen incontinence symptoms. Instead, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, water or sugar-free juice will be much better.
Be discreet: If your child has an accident, don’t make a big deal of it. Draw little attention to the situation and help your child get cleaned up quickly. Calmly tell them that everything is fine and they’ll still have a great time during the trip.
Take a Break and Relax
Managing childhood incontinence isn’t always easy. Whether you’re going on a family trip, taking care of your child as a single parent, or trusting them to travel without you, the right incontinence supplies can ensure everyone involved has a wonderful time. A proper diet, support, and properly-fitting supplies are the keys to managing pediatric incontinence, as well as regular doctor visits. However, be sure to take care of yourself as well, by finding the time to relax and destress.
Dr. Jay Levy is Medical Director at Aeroflow Healthcare and a pediatric urologist based in Charlotte, N.C. He is board certified in Urology by the American Board of Urology and also earned the subspecialty certification in Pediatric Urology. Dr. Levy holds a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Texas. www.aeroflowurology.com