Work

Work

Working to live, or living to work? No matter what you do, you should be able to concentrate on your job and not worry about bladder problems.

Tips for work

Tips for work

Pack and plan for a work day Find out more

Randal: I generally have either a 10 or a 12-hour shift and during those shifts, I have catheters in my work bag or in my pocket. I then have a toilet that I can go into and clean my hands properly. I take some wipes to work in a zip lock bag, have a wipe down and then pass the catheter. Discreet, no one knows and I'm back at my work within no time.

How to schedule catheterisation

You could link your intermittent catheterisation schedule to regular events throughout the working day, for example, regular meetings or your coffee and lunch breaks.

Bring enough supplies

Make sure you take enough catheters to work every day. We also recommend keeping spare catheters at work or in your car if you use one for going to work. Compact catheters fit easily into your pocket, so you don’t need to bring a bag to the toilet. However, it’s a good idea to pack a 'smart kit' in case you have a leak, when you are away from home. Find ideas for relevant items.

Catheterisation and coffee

Limit coffee or other caffeine drinks at work

It’s common to sip coffee or water all day. Limit caffeine beverages, as they will make you go more often. You should still drink 1.5 litres of fluids per day, but keep track of how much you drink at work so you can time your catheterisations accordingly.

Bring a change of clothes

With good routines you will minimise the risk of having accidents both at work and anywhere else. However, in case it should it happen anyway, it is a good idea to keep spare clothes at work or in your car.

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How to manage bladder issues at work

How to manage bladder issues at work

Tip so you can concentrate on doing a good job View tips

Do you work to live or live to work? No matter which category you belong to, most of us spend many hours a day at our workplace. That’s why it’s very important to us that we have nice colleagues, a good boss, a positive working environment – and time to visit the bathroom!

Whether you have been working continuously or are just getting back to work, bladder issues can't unfortunately be left at home. Catheterising needs to fit in with your workday – but it doesn’t have to have a big impact on your workday. Intermittent self-catheterisation can be done within a few minutes, so your visits to the bathroom would normally not be longer than everyone else’s.

Do I need to tell anyone?

Whether it’s relevant to talk about your situation or not depends on how much your condition influences your work. It’s not easy to talk to your boss about it and it’s better to do it before a difficult situation occurs, where you suddenly need to rush out in the middle of a meeting or task. You are not required to provide your boss with a lot of details about your situation. If your boss is the opposite gender to you, you might find it even more awkward. You don’t have to tell anyone anything that you're not comfortable with. If you have a close colleague that you trust, it might be a good idea to tell him or her in case of any emergencies.

Your rights when you return after illness or surgery:

The laws of most countries state that employers must make 'reasonable adjustments' that you might need in order to enable you to work again. If you are in a wheelchair, it would be to install a suitable bathroom or other necessary equipment. Maybe you need more flexible work hours too? Investigate which people are relevant to contact to arrange such adjustments. If you are in a large company such questions are usually part of the duties of a human resource manager.

Your rights at work

Meetings

Meetings can be stressful – especially long ones. If you chair them, you can set aside time for short breaks – the other participants will probably appreciate 5 minutes to stretch their legs or to get a drink. If you are a participant yourself, it can be inappropriate just to leave during the meeting. Catheterise just before the meeting and suggest one or more breaks to the chairperson. Again, most people will welcome your suggestion.

Business travels or courses

Even with a good bladder management routine for work you might eventually experience challenges. Many people with bladder issues find it stressful if their work requires business travelling or participating in courses away from the work place. You can perhaps benefit from our advice in the Travel section, where you’ll find tips for airplane travels, clever packing and more.

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Working on the road demands planning

Working on the road demands planning

Thomas Holtzmann, a consultant from Denmark, drives more than 40,000 miles a year Read his story here

Working on the road with many client meetings may seem like the most challenging job when you have bladder issues.

Today Thomas did something he never dared before; he catheterised at a client’s bathroom. 'Luckily it was very clean', says Thomas.

The interview takes place in a café in central Copenhagen. After this talk, 3.5 hours behind the wheel awaits him, taking him back to his wife and children on the other side of Denmark.

It’s a long day for Thomas, who works as a consultant within recruitment and leadership – especially because he uses both an intermittent catheter and an anal plug. These have been a part of his daily routine since the accident in 2001, where he fell on a metal staircase and landed on his back.

'I always avoid public bathrooms where I don’t know the hygienic state, because I get urinary tract infections easily – I’ve seen my share of petrol station bathrooms!

But yesterday I took a long ride on my racing bike, so I drank more water than usual'.

Normally Thomas would limit his fluid intake before taking a trip to the other end of the country. He always catheterises at home in the morning and considers how much and when he drinks during the day. In this way he’s able to control when he needs to catheterise.

Thomas needs 4 fixed 15 minutes breaks during the day, to manage it.

Thomas is on road with success despite these issues. His own explanation is this:

'I avoid leaks and infections because I know my body very well, and I know what works for me and what doesn’t. And with good products, professional help and planning, you can achieve more than you think.'

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