Biologically speaking, when you have to “go,” you have to go.
The reality for people who struggle with incontinence or overactive bladder, however, is that they have to go much more frequently, which means, unfortunately, using public restrooms can’t always be avoided.
The good news is going in public doesn’t have to be dirty or disgraceful. That being said, here are a few things to keep in mind that just might ease your fear of public restrooms.
Inspect the facilities first. Whenever possible, assess your options. Check to make sure the toilets and sinks are in good working order and always choose the cleanest stall.
If you’re out and about, determining how many bathrooms there are, where they are located and which one would be the best option can be helpful for when the call of nature comes.
Wash your hands properly. It’s always a good idea to wash your hands thoroughly, even before you use the restroom, especially for people with incontinence and other bladder-related conditions, as this can help prevent the transfer of dangerous bacteria.
And, of course, you should always wash your hands when you’re done, prior to leaving the bathroom.
Avoid flushing with your hands. For obvious reasons, the toilet flusher is typically one of the dirtiest surfaces in any bathroom, especially public ones. If you’re not lucky enough to have found a restroom that features motion sensors to flush, try to avoid touching the flusher with your hand.
Instead, use your foot or cover your hand with toilet paper first. This will vastly reduce your exposure to whatever might be lurking on the handle.
Bring your own cleansers. Carrying disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer can help make the process of using a public restroom feel a little less unpleasant.
Use wipes to clean any surface you might touch, including door handles, toilet flushers, sink handles and even paper towel dispensers. Hand sanitizer is also helpful in the event that the bathroom you end up in happens to be out of soap.
Use paper towels or toilet paper. If you’re feeling particularly uneasy about whether a public bathroom is clean, consider using toilet paper or paper towels to handle things. This will provide an added layer of protection against any potential germs and bacteria that might be lurking on surfaces unseen.
Of course, if you still feel strongly against using public restrooms, there are other options and alternatives.
For instance, when you know you’ll be out for a while and may experience the need to go, using specially designed incontinence products, like pads or briefs, can help you avoid public bathrooms altogether. It ultimately boils down to what you’re most comfortable with.
Using public restrooms is something most people who suffer from bladder conditions simply cannot avoid all the time. By planning ahead and knowing a few ‘best practices,’ you can make the process of ‘going’ in public much less unpleasant.