Feel prepared this Christmas with a Bladder or Bowel Condition

Originally published on: December 14th, 2021. Last modified on March 24th, 2022

If you suffer from a bladder or bowel issue or have any chronic health issues, Christmas time can feel overwhelming. It takes us out of our normal routine and often leads us to feeling a little anxious around leaving the house to meet up with  friends and family. With a little forward planning and making the right choices around food and drink, Christmas can be embraced and celebrated, even with a bladder or bowel condition.

Here are some tips that may help make the festive season a little easier…

Avoid drinking too much alcohol if it’s a trigger

We all like to enjoy a sparkling drink or two over the festive period, however too much alcohol can trigger symptoms of your bladder or bowel condition. Excessive alcohol can cause diarrhoea, leave you feeling dehydrated and irritate the bladder, intensifying urgency and frequency symptoms. Caffeine also produces similar effects. It’s important to remain suitably hydrated by drinking the recommended 6-8 glasses of water a day to keep your bladder clear and avoid constipation. 

High Fibre FoodConsider your food choices

Christmas is usually a time that we associate with indulging in lots of rich food but certain foods can aggravate some bladder or bowel conditions. If you have a stoma, some foods are known to cause excess wind or output or cause blockages within the bowel. Foods that are high in fibre such as green veggies (e.g. sprouts!) can produce excess wind, whilst nuts, dried fruits and foods with a tough skin (such as peppers, sweetcorn and jacket potatoes) are more likely to cause a blockage in the bowel.

Of course everyone is different and not everyone will experience issues with food. You can always try a small amount of food to see if you react. Foods like chocolate and artificial sweeteners can have a laxative effect.

There are certain foods that can irritate the bladder too, these include citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners. As always it’s about eating these foods in moderation as it’s just as important not to have a restrictive diet. If you know a certain food can trigger your condition then limit it as much as possible but don’t deny yourself the enjoyment.

Specialist Pharmacist - Bladder & Bowel Home Delivery

Make sure you have enough supplies

Order any supplies such as ostomy bags, catheters and continence supplies that you may need in plenty of time before the Christmas shutdown period. Consider that you may need additional to your usual order to cover you in case of any upset bellies or bladders. Check with your delivery company what their final deadline is for delivery before the Christmas season. If you are a customer with the Bladder and Bowel Home Delivery service, our advisors will be available over the phone every day of the festive period except Bank Holidays and weekends and are happy to help with any advice needed or urgent deliveries. Find out more

Be Prepared and Feel Confident Out and About

A little planning and preparation can help you enjoy and feel less daunted by being out and about during the festive season. Pack a small emergency change kit to keep on your at all times. This may include a spare ostomy bags, catheters, incontinence pads,  spare pair of underwear and clothing, and make sure you carry your Just Can’t Wait Card – just in case! There are discreet continence pads options now available that can help you feel more confident in your best Christmas outfit and high waisted underwear can help to smooth out the outline of an ostomy bag under your favourite dress or shirt.

Protect Yourself and Others from Covid

By getting vaccinated, and the simple act of wearing a face mask we can better protect each other. With a new Coronavirus variant emerging and cases now on the rise, it is important to keep yourself and others as safe as possible over the festive season.

This time of year, we may come into contact with elderly relatives or other family members who are  vulnerable with health issues,  so it  is important to wear face masks. If you can, and when instructed be sure to get vaccinated and have your booster when you become eligible. To find out if you are eligible visit this page on the NHS website.

Most Importantly… Just Enjoy Yourself!

What was the number one tip given by those with a bladder or bowel condition – relax and enjoy yourself! You deserve to enjoy this time of year as much as anyone else so have those lovely, tasty foods that you like and sample a tipple or two and have lots of fun with your family and friends.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, and a very Happy New Year!

 – Bladder & Bowel Community Team