Urethral bulking

For stress urinary incontinence, your urogynecologist can inject a non-absorbable substance into the tissues surrounding the urethra to help keep it closed and prevent urine from leaking out. 

Who is a candidate for urethral bulking?

Because urethral bulking is performed in the office under local anesthesia, it is a good option to treat stress incontinence in women who have medical conditions that might make surgery riskier. It can also be a nice option for women who wish to avoid a surgical procedure all together. Over time, the bulking will likely wear off and you might need to have the procedure repeated if you start to experience stress incontinence again. 

How is this procedure performed?

If you and your urogynecologist decide that a bulking agent is right for you, it is a quick and simple in-office procedure performed under local anesthesia. 

In the office, a cystoscope (a thin camera with a light on the end) is inserted into the urethra, allowing your urogynecologist to look at the inside and inspect your bladder and urethra. The bulking material is then injected directly into the urethra.

The entire procedure takes about five minutes and causes minimal discomfort. You will be able to drive yourself home after the procedure. 

How successful is urethral bulking?

Many women experience improvement in their stress incontinence following urethral bulking, however this procedure is not as effective as the surgical procedures to treat stress incontinence, like the synthetic retropubic midurethral sling

What are the side effects of urethral bulking?

Modern urethral bulking is a very safe procedure with few risks. Immediately following the procedure, you might feel a burning sensation or a small amount of bleeding during urination, but this should wear off throughout the day. It is possible for women to experience a urinary tract infection, and more rarely women can experience difficulty emptying their bladder. If one of these side effects occur, your urogynecologist can easily treat it.