News

Can You Buy Incontinence Products With Your HSA or FSA?

Say goodbye to leaks and hello to confidence.

April 29, 2024
Sam O'Keefe
Co-founder & CEO of Flex
Flex - Buying Incontinence Products with HSA/FSA
Flex - Buying Incontinence Products with HSA/FSA

Overview

Overview

Overview

Incontinence is a common condition that affects 13 million people in the U.S. Even so, it might seem like you’re the only one because — let's face it — pee problems aren’t exactly a dinner party conversation starter.

We understand the subject can be uncomfortable to address, but incontinence is rarely a long-term concern. Better yet, there are plenty of products and treatments to help manage the symptoms — many of which qualify for coverage with your Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

If you’re ready to break the seal, let’s talk about incontinence.

Incontinence: An Overview

Let’s start by exploring the science behind the condition.

What is Incontinence?

Incontinence is the involuntary loss of bladder or bowel control. This can refer to light leaking or a strong and sudden urge to relieve yourself.

What is most important to understand is that incontinence is not a disease itself, but a symptom of an underlying issue.

What are the different types of incontinence?

There are several kinds of incontinence, each with its own set of causes and symptoms:

  1. Stress incontinence: This is the classic "pee when you sneeze" scenario. According to the Mayo Clinic, weakened pelvic floor muscles, often due to childbirth or pregnancy, can lead to leaks during activities that put pressure on the bladder, like coughing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects. 

  2. Urge incontinence: The sudden, intense need to pee that you can't quite hold comes under the umbrella of urge incontinence. This can be caused by numerous conditions, including bladder irritation, urinary tract infections (UTIs), or neurological issues.

  3. Mixed incontinence: As the name suggests, this is the result of a combination of factors from stress and urge incontinence.

Overflow incontinence: When the bladder doesn't empty completely, leading to dribbling or leakage. The Urology Foundation cites blockage or weak bladder muscles as the most common causes of overflow incontinence.

What Can Cause Incontinence?

There are many reasons why incontinence might occur, but some common culprits include:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth: Weakened pelvic floor muscles are a frequent consequence of pregnancy and vaginal delivery. The symptoms can last after giving birth. In fact, postpartum incontinence affects up to 4 out of 10 women.

  • Age: As we get older, our pelvic floor muscles naturally weaken, which increases the risk of incontinence.

  • Medical conditions: Diabetes, neurological conditions, and UTIs can all contribute to incontinence.

  • Surgery: Pelvic surgery, especially prostate surgery in men, can damage nerves and muscles that control urination.

  • Obesity: Excess weight can put extra pressure on the bladder, which sometimes leads to leaks.

Temporary vs. chronic incontinence

The good news? Incontinence is most often a temporary condition caused by short-term maladies like a UTI or a side effect to medication. 

Given time and proper treatment, incontinence may resolve itself. However, if the incontinence persists for over three months, it's considered chronic and requires further evaluation and management.

Who is typically affected?

While incontinence can happen to people of all ages, it appears more often among certain groups:

  • Women: Due to factors like pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, women are twice as likely to experience incontinence than men. What’s more, according to research by the NIH, up to 57% of middle-aged women have reported experiencing urinary incontinence at some point.

  • The elderly: Age-related changes in bladder function, along with underlying health conditions, increase the risk of incontinence among older adults. Don’t be mistaken, though,  incontinence is not a normal part of aging, but something to be tested and treated.

  • Individuals with other medical conditions: Conditions such as obesity, diabetes, neurological disorders, and prostate issues can predispose you to incontinence.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosing incontinence usually involves a physical exam, a discussion of your medical history, and possibly some tests like a urinalysis or a bladder stress test. Your doctor will work with you to determine the type and cause of your incontinence to develop the most effective treatment plan.

How Can You Treat Incontinence?

While incontinence can lead to awkward situations if unmanaged, there are plenty of treatment options out there.

What are some common incontinence products?

Incontinence products and aids are designed to absorb urine or feces and prevent leakage, which can provide extra confidence during your day-to-day. These include:

  • Leakproof underwear: This category has grown in popularity in recent years. Often similar in style to regular underwear they come with added absorbency to manage light to moderate leakage.

  • Incontinence pads: Booster pads are thin and discreet, designed to absorb light to moderate urinary leakage. They're worn inside regular underwear.

  • Adult diapers/incontinence briefs: Overnight briefs, fitted briefs, and pull-on diapers are absorbent garments that provide full coverage and are suitable for individuals with heavier leakage or those who are bedridden.

  • Protective underpads: These disposable pads can be placed on beds or furniture to protect against leaks and accidents.

Other noteworthy incontinence treatments

Along with the specialized products, there are several other options for managing incontinence, including:

  • Lifestyle changes: Losing weight, quitting smoking, and managing fluids can all help improve bladder control.

  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels): Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles through Kegel exercises (also known as pelvic PT) is one of the best ways to naturally combat urinary incontinence.

  • Bladder training: Bladder training involves gradually increasing the time between bathroom visits.

  • Medications: Certain medications can help relax the bladder muscles or increase urine storage capacity.

  • Medical devices: You’ll find many different incontinence products, such as light pads, liners, and adult diapers designed to absorb leaks and protect your clothing.

  • Catheters: In some situations, such as bladder weakness, pregnancy, or prostate enlargement, your doctor may use a catheter to drain urine directly from the bladder.

  • Surgery: For severe incontinence, surgery might be an option to correct underlying anatomical problems.

Looking for some immediate support? We have a curated marketplace for HSA and FSA-approved products and these are a few incontinence-focused brands we particularly recommend:

Moxie: Activewear that keeps you dry

Stress incontinence is very common among women who engage in intense physical training (such as running, jumping, and lifting). If you’re struggling with exercise-induced leaks and thinking of dropping the dumbbells as a result, hold to 10 instead.

Enter Moxie Fitness, a gym and activewear company that makes leakproof clothing.

Founded by a crossfitter who was tired of missing PRs because she was P-ing, Moxie's leggings, capris, and shorts let you focus on your fitness goals free from the fear of unexpected leakage. Their products are made with a liner that wicks away leaks (whether period, urine or sweat) and traps them in a discreet inner absorbent layer. The result is that you can push the limits, even when pushing on your bladder.

MoxyPatch: Your out-of-sight ally in bladder leak prevention

Sick of uncomfortable, bulky pads? MoxyPatch is a barely-there, comfortable, and reusable fix for frustrating urinary leaks that was developed with gynecologists and other medical specialists. 

The MoxyPatch itself is a small silicone device that, when placed atop the urethral opening, forms a leak-preventing barrier. If you’re thinking, “put a lid on it,” you have the right idea. Small and discreet, it’s a great way to stop mild-to-moderate leaks, boost your confidence, and rid yourself of the inconvenience of stress-based urinary incontinence. 

Now, the big question…

Can You Buy Incontinence Products with HSAs/FSAs?

Good news: incontinence products are considered eligible medical expenses according to the IRS. This is because they are used “primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental disability or illness”. 

If you go to a pharmacy, drug store, grocery store, or most major retailers, you’ll be able to use your HSA or FSA debit card (and those pre-tax dollars) for cost savings. Note that there are some clarifications, which we discuss below.

Are incontinence pads a medical expense?

Yes, incontinence pads, along with products like adult diapers, protective underpads, and many other incontinence supplies, are considered eligible medical expenses.

Can you buy adult diapers with an HSA card?

Absolutely! Adult diapers, also known as incontinence briefs, are eligible for purchase with your HSA card.

Does FSA/HSA cover pediatric diapers?

Yes, pediatric diapers for children with incontinence issues are also considered eligible medical expenses under FSA and HSA guidelines. However, diapers for everyday use are not eligible because the IRS considers them "general health" items.

How Flex Can Help You Purchase Incontinence Products With Your HSA or FSA

Since incontinence supplies are a qualified medical expense you can use your HSA or FSA, or pay for it out-of-pocket and get reimbursed. 

However, not all online retailers are able to accept HSA or FSA payments. You’ll know if this is the case because your card will be declined. That’s where we come in: if an ecommerce company has partnered with Flex they can because we allow purchases to be auto-substantiated. What that means for you is the payment will go through so you won’t need to submit for reimbursement!

Some products require an extra step. If the item falls outside of standard IRS guidelines, such as athletic wear that also offers leak protection, you’ll need to obtain a Letter of Medical Necessity. This is because the item can be used for both a medical and personal hygiene, cosmetic or general health purpose.

For companies that have partnered with Flex, you'll see a "checkout with Flex" option on the payment page and be guided through a quick process:

  • Fill out a short eligibility form, sharing relevant information with Flex’s medical team. 

  • If you qualify, Flex sends the LOMN to you via email.

  • Then, simply enter your HSA or FSA card details and complete the purchase. 

Want to uncover more HSA and FSA-eligible products? Flex Market offers a wide range of items from our partner brands. Check out how to make the most of your HSA and FSA dollars.

Leave the Leaks Behind

Incontinence can be awkward and frustrating, but it doesn't have to lead to a loss of control. By utilizing incontinence treatment options — and leveraging your HSA or FSA to do so — you can manage your condition just as millions of other people do!

Incontinence is a common condition that affects 13 million people in the U.S. Even so, it might seem like you’re the only one because — let's face it — pee problems aren’t exactly a dinner party conversation starter.

We understand the subject can be uncomfortable to address, but incontinence is rarely a long-term concern. Better yet, there are plenty of products and treatments to help manage the symptoms — many of which qualify for coverage with your Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

If you’re ready to break the seal, let’s talk about incontinence.

Incontinence: An Overview

Let’s start by exploring the science behind the condition.

What is Incontinence?

Incontinence is the involuntary loss of bladder or bowel control. This can refer to light leaking or a strong and sudden urge to relieve yourself.

What is most important to understand is that incontinence is not a disease itself, but a symptom of an underlying issue.

What are the different types of incontinence?

There are several kinds of incontinence, each with its own set of causes and symptoms:

  1. Stress incontinence: This is the classic "pee when you sneeze" scenario. According to the Mayo Clinic, weakened pelvic floor muscles, often due to childbirth or pregnancy, can lead to leaks during activities that put pressure on the bladder, like coughing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects. 

  2. Urge incontinence: The sudden, intense need to pee that you can't quite hold comes under the umbrella of urge incontinence. This can be caused by numerous conditions, including bladder irritation, urinary tract infections (UTIs), or neurological issues.

  3. Mixed incontinence: As the name suggests, this is the result of a combination of factors from stress and urge incontinence.

Overflow incontinence: When the bladder doesn't empty completely, leading to dribbling or leakage. The Urology Foundation cites blockage or weak bladder muscles as the most common causes of overflow incontinence.

What Can Cause Incontinence?

There are many reasons why incontinence might occur, but some common culprits include:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth: Weakened pelvic floor muscles are a frequent consequence of pregnancy and vaginal delivery. The symptoms can last after giving birth. In fact, postpartum incontinence affects up to 4 out of 10 women.

  • Age: As we get older, our pelvic floor muscles naturally weaken, which increases the risk of incontinence.

  • Medical conditions: Diabetes, neurological conditions, and UTIs can all contribute to incontinence.

  • Surgery: Pelvic surgery, especially prostate surgery in men, can damage nerves and muscles that control urination.

  • Obesity: Excess weight can put extra pressure on the bladder, which sometimes leads to leaks.

Temporary vs. chronic incontinence

The good news? Incontinence is most often a temporary condition caused by short-term maladies like a UTI or a side effect to medication. 

Given time and proper treatment, incontinence may resolve itself. However, if the incontinence persists for over three months, it's considered chronic and requires further evaluation and management.

Who is typically affected?

While incontinence can happen to people of all ages, it appears more often among certain groups:

  • Women: Due to factors like pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, women are twice as likely to experience incontinence than men. What’s more, according to research by the NIH, up to 57% of middle-aged women have reported experiencing urinary incontinence at some point.

  • The elderly: Age-related changes in bladder function, along with underlying health conditions, increase the risk of incontinence among older adults. Don’t be mistaken, though,  incontinence is not a normal part of aging, but something to be tested and treated.

  • Individuals with other medical conditions: Conditions such as obesity, diabetes, neurological disorders, and prostate issues can predispose you to incontinence.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosing incontinence usually involves a physical exam, a discussion of your medical history, and possibly some tests like a urinalysis or a bladder stress test. Your doctor will work with you to determine the type and cause of your incontinence to develop the most effective treatment plan.

How Can You Treat Incontinence?

While incontinence can lead to awkward situations if unmanaged, there are plenty of treatment options out there.

What are some common incontinence products?

Incontinence products and aids are designed to absorb urine or feces and prevent leakage, which can provide extra confidence during your day-to-day. These include:

  • Leakproof underwear: This category has grown in popularity in recent years. Often similar in style to regular underwear they come with added absorbency to manage light to moderate leakage.

  • Incontinence pads: Booster pads are thin and discreet, designed to absorb light to moderate urinary leakage. They're worn inside regular underwear.

  • Adult diapers/incontinence briefs: Overnight briefs, fitted briefs, and pull-on diapers are absorbent garments that provide full coverage and are suitable for individuals with heavier leakage or those who are bedridden.

  • Protective underpads: These disposable pads can be placed on beds or furniture to protect against leaks and accidents.

Other noteworthy incontinence treatments

Along with the specialized products, there are several other options for managing incontinence, including:

  • Lifestyle changes: Losing weight, quitting smoking, and managing fluids can all help improve bladder control.

  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels): Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles through Kegel exercises (also known as pelvic PT) is one of the best ways to naturally combat urinary incontinence.

  • Bladder training: Bladder training involves gradually increasing the time between bathroom visits.

  • Medications: Certain medications can help relax the bladder muscles or increase urine storage capacity.

  • Medical devices: You’ll find many different incontinence products, such as light pads, liners, and adult diapers designed to absorb leaks and protect your clothing.

  • Catheters: In some situations, such as bladder weakness, pregnancy, or prostate enlargement, your doctor may use a catheter to drain urine directly from the bladder.

  • Surgery: For severe incontinence, surgery might be an option to correct underlying anatomical problems.

Looking for some immediate support? We have a curated marketplace for HSA and FSA-approved products and these are a few incontinence-focused brands we particularly recommend:

Moxie: Activewear that keeps you dry

Stress incontinence is very common among women who engage in intense physical training (such as running, jumping, and lifting). If you’re struggling with exercise-induced leaks and thinking of dropping the dumbbells as a result, hold to 10 instead.

Enter Moxie Fitness, a gym and activewear company that makes leakproof clothing.

Founded by a crossfitter who was tired of missing PRs because she was P-ing, Moxie's leggings, capris, and shorts let you focus on your fitness goals free from the fear of unexpected leakage. Their products are made with a liner that wicks away leaks (whether period, urine or sweat) and traps them in a discreet inner absorbent layer. The result is that you can push the limits, even when pushing on your bladder.

MoxyPatch: Your out-of-sight ally in bladder leak prevention

Sick of uncomfortable, bulky pads? MoxyPatch is a barely-there, comfortable, and reusable fix for frustrating urinary leaks that was developed with gynecologists and other medical specialists. 

The MoxyPatch itself is a small silicone device that, when placed atop the urethral opening, forms a leak-preventing barrier. If you’re thinking, “put a lid on it,” you have the right idea. Small and discreet, it’s a great way to stop mild-to-moderate leaks, boost your confidence, and rid yourself of the inconvenience of stress-based urinary incontinence. 

Now, the big question…

Can You Buy Incontinence Products with HSAs/FSAs?

Good news: incontinence products are considered eligible medical expenses according to the IRS. This is because they are used “primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental disability or illness”. 

If you go to a pharmacy, drug store, grocery store, or most major retailers, you’ll be able to use your HSA or FSA debit card (and those pre-tax dollars) for cost savings. Note that there are some clarifications, which we discuss below.

Are incontinence pads a medical expense?

Yes, incontinence pads, along with products like adult diapers, protective underpads, and many other incontinence supplies, are considered eligible medical expenses.

Can you buy adult diapers with an HSA card?

Absolutely! Adult diapers, also known as incontinence briefs, are eligible for purchase with your HSA card.

Does FSA/HSA cover pediatric diapers?

Yes, pediatric diapers for children with incontinence issues are also considered eligible medical expenses under FSA and HSA guidelines. However, diapers for everyday use are not eligible because the IRS considers them "general health" items.

How Flex Can Help You Purchase Incontinence Products With Your HSA or FSA

Since incontinence supplies are a qualified medical expense you can use your HSA or FSA, or pay for it out-of-pocket and get reimbursed. 

However, not all online retailers are able to accept HSA or FSA payments. You’ll know if this is the case because your card will be declined. That’s where we come in: if an ecommerce company has partnered with Flex they can because we allow purchases to be auto-substantiated. What that means for you is the payment will go through so you won’t need to submit for reimbursement!

Some products require an extra step. If the item falls outside of standard IRS guidelines, such as athletic wear that also offers leak protection, you’ll need to obtain a Letter of Medical Necessity. This is because the item can be used for both a medical and personal hygiene, cosmetic or general health purpose.

For companies that have partnered with Flex, you'll see a "checkout with Flex" option on the payment page and be guided through a quick process:

  • Fill out a short eligibility form, sharing relevant information with Flex’s medical team. 

  • If you qualify, Flex sends the LOMN to you via email.

  • Then, simply enter your HSA or FSA card details and complete the purchase. 

Want to uncover more HSA and FSA-eligible products? Flex Market offers a wide range of items from our partner brands. Check out how to make the most of your HSA and FSA dollars.

Leave the Leaks Behind

Incontinence can be awkward and frustrating, but it doesn't have to lead to a loss of control. By utilizing incontinence treatment options — and leveraging your HSA or FSA to do so — you can manage your condition just as millions of other people do!

Flex is a modern marketplace for consumers to discover and purchase HSA/FSA eligible products. From fitness and nutrition, to sleep and mental health, Flex takes a holistic view of healthcare and enables consumers to use their pre-tax money to do the same.