With summer and nationwide warm weather now upon us once again, it’s common for people to access their local public pools to seek refreshment from the hot sun. And while pools provide a mix of entertainment, relaxation and enjoyment, they can also potentially be an obstacle for some people – specifically those that experience incontinence.
You’ve likely seen movies and watched TV shows depicting a character or group of characters enjoying themselves in the neighborhood swimming pool. The waters around these characters then suddenly turn blue, implying that they’ve urinated in the pool. While this is great for laughs, the thought of this occurring is no laughing matter if you experience incontinence. That’s because while it’s obvious that you’re not planning to treat the pool like a toilet, in some cases you may not be able to help a bit of urine leakage. For this reason, many people who experience incontinence will either stay away from swimming pools altogether or just opt for a poolside chair rather than the water over fear of potential embarrassment.
But will the water around you really turn blue after peeing in the pool? Or is this all just a misconception that’s been assumed thanks to Hollywood?
If you’ve guessed the latter, you’re correct.
Peeing In The Pool: Not Recommended, But…
So we’ve covered that water turning blue after urination in the pool is fiction. That’s because a special urine-detecting chemical along these lines would more than likely throw off all of the other chemicals in the pool water, making it potentially unsafe for swimming in.
Now that’s not to say that you should go about using a swimming pool as if it’s your bathroom, but those with incontinence won’t have to worry about being singled out and embarrassed in the event of unintentional leakage.
It’s More Common Than Your Think
It’s estimated that one out of every five Americans has peed in a pool during their lifetime. Furthermore, it’s been noted that Olympic swimmers urinate in the pool regularly. Olympian Michael Phelps has gone on record before saying that peeing in the pool – and then swimming in it – is a “non-issue,” as the chlorine kills the urine.
Now that’s not to say that if you got to go, do it in the pool, but there’s truly nothing to fear when it comes to swimming in public pools if you experience incontinence. However, if you still have reservations about using the pool now that you know this, here are some extra precautions you may choose to take:
Swim in an area close to the pool exit or close to the restroom to make exiting the pool convenient when you have to go.
Use the restroom right before you get into the swimming pool.
Consider wearing an adult swim diaper, which will prevent any unintentional urine leakage from entering pool waters.
Tampon-like products: For women, bladder supports can be purchased over the counter and inserted similar to a tampon. They’re intended to stop urine leakage before it occurs and are intended for women who experience stress urinary incontinence.
Pelvic floor exercises: Begin exercising the pelvic floor muscles in the spring so that they’re strengthened by pool season, thereby minimizing or eliminating unintentional leakage.
Just because you experience incontinence doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy summertime activities – like swimming in pools – this year. And while it certainly wouldn’t be your intention if a bit of urine enters the pool as you’re swimming, rest assured that the water around you won’t turn blue.