September 2019


Thanks for being a subscriber of the ActivStyle Insights newsletter. We’re glad you are here! Our September newsletter has several informative articles to help you help your clients who suffer with incontinence. This month we share valuable information about managing incontinence and living active and full lives even with the challenges that come with being incontinent. It’s our hope that this information is helpful as you work with your clients who are incontinent.

Health News

Incontinence and Falls in Older People; is There a Link?

While falls are a common and serious problem for older adults, the risk of falling increases if they also have urge incontinence. People with urge incontinence may be more likely to fall and fracture a bone compared to those who are not urge incontinent.

Research at the University of California, San Francisco, studied more than 6,000 women aged 72 and older, with frequent urinary incontinence. The study discovered that women who feel a strong need to urinate and have urine leakage before getting to the bathroom, increase their risk of falling by 26% and their risk of fracturing a bone by 34%.

Urge incontinence may increase fall risk when a person hurries to the toilet, especially in unfamiliar, cluttered or dark areas. There are several strategies that can be deployed to help reduce fall risk:

  • Schedule an annual eye exam.
  • Avoid throw-rugs. If throw rugs must be used, secure them with non-slip matting or tape underneath.
  • Ask the doctor or pharmacist to review medications that may cause dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Improve balance and strength with gentle exercise programs such as yoga or Tai Chi.
  • Ensure the person is wearing suitable clothes that can be easily removed, and good footwear to reduce slipping.
  • Consider a non-slip mat on the floor beside the bed for people who experience urinary incontinence when transferring from bed.
  • Install handrails in stairways, in the shower and next to the toilet.
  • Keep the pathway to the toilet obstacle free and leave a night light on in the bedroom/bathroom at night.
  • Assess whether the use of absorbent products such as adult diapers, undergarments or underpads is necessary.

If you have questions about the types of incontinence products available for your clients, please reach out to our staff. They are trained experts who can help you determine what products are available for your clients and how to use them for the best outcomes. If you have a client or patient on medical assistance who needs incontinence or other medical supplies, contact ActivStyle’s Provider Services team today at 855-373-5141 (Monday – Friday, 8AM-5PM Central Time). They’ll be happy to talk to you and help you determine the individual’s eligibility to receive supplies and take a referral over the phone, or you may conveniently make referrals online.


Q: How long does it take to get the first order from ActivStyle?

A: Getting the first order shipped can take on average about 2 weeks. In most cases, we need to get a prescription from the client’s doctor. This involves faxing a prescription request to the doctor to complete, sign, and send back to us. Doctors are busy professionals and it sometimes takes a while for them to answer our request for paperwork. If the patient has not seen their doctor in a while, he or she may need to see them before they will provide a prescription. An error may require the paperwork to be redone. Insurance plans have strict guidelines for completing paperwork and if it is not completed correctly, we may have to go back to the doctor for a correction. What can you do to make this step go faster? We recommend that the patient visit their doctor before they sign up for services with ActivStyle. Also, let the doctor know that they are requesting supplies from ActivStyle and ask the doctor to assist in the process by completing paperwork as quickly as possible. Once we receive a valid prescription from the doctor, we will be able to process the order. If it has been 7 days or less since the prescription came in, we will ship right away. If it has been more than 7 days, we will need to contact the client to confirm they still need the product before we can ship.

Q: The doctor has returned a prescription to ActivStyle. Why has my client not received their shipment?

A: Just because a doctor has returned a prescription to ActivStyle does not mean we will automatically be able to ship. In some cases, the prescription is not valid. This may be because there are errors on the prescription or all the necessary information is not included, based what is required by the payor. When we encounter errors or do not have all the required information, we will continue to work with the doctor to obtain a valid prescription so that your client will receive their supplies as quickly as possible.

If you have other questions for the ActivStyle staff, feel free to call toll-free at 855-373-5141, Monday thru Friday, 8AM to 5PM, Central Time. We want to make your life easy, so you can provide the best service and information to those you serve.

Industry News

ActivStyle Now Taking Patients in Mississippi

We are pleased to announce that we have officially become contracted with Mississippi Medicaid and enrolled with Medicaid/Medicare in Mississippi. We are now prepared to supply patients in Mississippi with incontinence, ostomy, and urology supplies. With a prescription from the patient’s doctor, the state covers diapers, pullups, and chux. All incontinence products require prior authorization. To qualify, a patient must suffer from either temporary or permanent loss of bladder or bowel control and must be at least 3 years of age.

We are excited to bring ActivStyle’s convenient home delivery of incontinence supplies to individuals in Mississippi! If you have patients in need of medical supplies in the state of Mississippi, please contact our Provider Services team at 855-373-5141, Monday – Friday, 8AM-5PM Central Time, with any questions you may have about enrolling them in our convenient home delivery program.

Product News

How Much Will an Incontinence Product Hold?

One of the most common questions asked about incontinence products is “how much will they hold”?  It feels like a common-sense question, the most natural question to ask.  However, such a question is based on a faulty assumption that what a product can hold is a finite amount such as the number of ounces (oz.) in a measuring cup.  The idea that you can “fill” a product up to a finite number of ounces no matter how long it takes doesn’t align with how the polymers these garments are made of actually work.

First, it helps to understand superabsorbent polymers (SAP) – invented in the 1960’s and further developed for commercial use in the early 1970’s – that absorbs and retains fluids at many times its own weight. It is often a granular substance but can also be fibrous.  When dry, the molecules are tightly coiled; once wet, they unfurl and expand which in turn traps fluid in a gel-like state. In other words, the polymers swell and solidify. This technology allows incontinence products to have a much slimmer/thinner profile than bulkier fluff-filled products of the past.

Second, let’s think about what “capacity” really means. This is easy to understand when using a measuring cup, for example. A measuring cup is a finite measure; if more is added than capacity allows, the cup with overflow. However, a pullup or diaper is not constructed like a measuring cup.  Absorbent products stretch, move, and breathe.

Third, we need to reframe the original question from “how much will it hold” to “how much fluid is in a person’s average void”? Before you race off for a measuring cup from the kitchen, simply imagine a universal measure – a 12 oz. can of pop/soda. In an average single void, would you fill the can? Half or less?  Or would you more than fill it?

The average adult void is 6 oz. when the urinary system is working properly (half of a can). However, with incontinence, there might be only a few ounces of leakage at a time or the bladder may be full and then gush unexpectedly. How much liquid a person drinks, especially coffee, caffeinated soda or alcoholic beverages, can increase average output. Again, think about to what extent a person would fill or even exceed a 12 oz. can.

If one’s average void is under 5 oz. (less than half a can) bladder control pads/male guards are recommended. Between 5 and 9 oz., pullups/protective underwear may be the best bet. Over 9 oz. (3/4’s of a can) and above, diapers are the best choice. Then, factor in frequency. If the person is leaking only a few ounces at a time but frequently throughout the day or night, move up from bladder control pads to protective underwear. The goal is to select a product that will get the person from one bathroom stop/product change to the next unless their voids are small enough to get extra-long time frames from it.

Finally, back to the original question and why that reasoning doesn’t work very well: suppose the person averages 9 oz. per void and use a diaper. Once they’ve voided, the polymers are fast to act, like a fluid magnet. Once those polymers absorb fluids they lock and hold.  They do not spontaneously regenerate or dry out. They are spent. But the same thing happens if the wearer had just voided 10 oz. or 12 oz. or 14 oz. Once the wearer voids, and the polymers have done their job, they lock up and don’t absorb any more liquid.  It’s time to change your product regardless if it was a 9 oz. void or a 14 oz. void.  The urine will have spread to every possible point where the polymers reside. Any polymers not activated will be higher up on the product, up around the waist, which is not adequate protection against another urinary void.

The trick is to work with the incontinence products, not against them. Understanding how to get the most protection out of incontinence products will help the wearer feel much more secure and ready to go out and live their life to the fullest.

Conference News

If you plan on attending the St. Louis County Health & Human Service Conference in Duluth, Minnesota, October 9 & 10, watch for our booth. You are welcome to stop by our booth and meet our staff. They’ll be ready and willing to answer any questions you may have about ActivStyle’s medical supply service. We look forward to meeting you in person.

Working with ActivStyle

Wouldn’t it be great if you spent less time mired in case-related paperwork and details and more time helping those who need you?

ActivStyle is a full-service provider of high-quality, high-value home medical supplies serving thousands of practitioners and case managers across the United States. Our product expertise and knowledge of constantly changing state and federal regulations allow us to give you — and the clients who depend on you — the level of service you need and deserve.

Founded in 1997 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, ActivStyle has grown to over 200 employees compassionately serving patients in 47 states with their medical supply needs. Specializing in incontinence, urological, and ostomy supplies, our Product Experts are available to discuss product options, insurance benefits, free delivery, or product samples. Feel free to call one of our Provider Services representatives toll-free at 855-373-5141, they’ll be happy to talk with you and answer any questions you may have about our products, services, or take a referral over the phone. You may also conveniently make client or patient referrals online.

At ActivStyle, we’re dedicated to making your life easier.