Traveling With Interstitial Cystitis

Thanks go out to How to Cope with Pain for including this post in their monthly blog carnival.

My recent trip to Georgia has caused me to reflect on what I need to do differently the next time we travel for any length of time in regards to packing toiletries.  This last trip after Christmas was pretty rough for me.  Not only did I have a CFS flare, but I also had some issues related to my Interstitial Cystitis.  I’m not sure if this is a problem for other IC patients, but I can only use certain types of toilet tissue.  I can’t use Cottonelle, Scott, or any of the generic toilet tissues that are real thin and rough on the skin.  I have found that if I use either Charmin or Northern toilet tissue, I don’t have problems with burning, itching, and sensitivity.  The hotels we stayed in on our recent trip had really sucky toilet tissue and I was in misery with burning, itching, and rawness by the time we got home. 

Soap is another issue I have when traveling.  I normally take my own sensitive skin body wash along but this last trip I forgot it and I was using the hotel soap – big mistake.  This added to the burning, itching and overall raw feeling I had in my vaginal area and I vowed that I would never leave home again without proper toiletries.

If you are planning on traveling, make sure you take along a couple rolls of the toilet paper you are used to using at home.  Also do not use the hotel soaps on your vaginal area if you have problems with using regular soap like I do.  Use a soap that is moisturizing, fragrance-free, and for sensitive skin for that area.  

I also recommend having several bottles of water to drink.  I notice that whenever we travel I will suffer from a lot of burning and my urinary frequency increases.  I think it’s a combination of things that causes the IC symptoms to flare:  eating and drinking in restaurants more than normal; the difference in the chemicals in the water; a lot of sitting while driving/riding on the trip;  and stress from traveling.  I find that I have to drink a lot more water when we are traveling in order to keep the vaginal burning tolerable. 

I am also going to start packing a heating pad to use at night while staying in hotels.  The heat relieves some of the spasms, pain and pressure.

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  1. Sabrina Tolle says:

    Sandy thank you for sharing such good information. I wanted to add a couple of tips that I have found useful also. One thing I found critical for my comfort is friendly clothing. Nothing snug and certainly nothing tight. The other thing is a source of heat such as a Thermacare back wrap that will stay warm for approximately 15 hours. I have at times when urgency and frequency is really bad, I cath myself and use a leg bag. At least with the cath my very understanding hubby didn’t have to get off at each exit. Happy traveling my fellow IC sufferers.

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