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What is a bulking agent injection?

A bulking agent injection is a procedure that is used to treat urine incontinence. This injection can provide some short-term relief from unitary incontinence, but it will not cure the condition.

This procedure is used to treat women suffering from stress urinary incontinence (SUI). SUI  is a common problem affecting many women. It is caused by  a weakness of the pelvic floor muscles or weakness in the urethra. Common signs of an SUI leads include leaking of  urine  when you cough, sneeze or laugh. A bulking agent works by narrowing the urethra so that leakage is less likely to occur.

What happens before and during a bulking injection?

Before the outpatient procedure, your doctor at OneWelbeck may recommend a urodynamics test. This is an investigation of bladder function, which will confirm your diagnosis and help rule out any other problems with the bladder. See our page on urodymanic testing for more information.

During the procedure, your doctor will start by inserting a catheter to ensure that your bladder is totally empty for the surgery.

During this procedure, your doctor will insert a bulking agent into the wall of your urethra (waterpipe) using a small telescope called an endoscope. The bulking agent will help your urethra to make a watertight seal and to prevent urine leaking from your bladder. Your doctor will use a local anaesthetic.

What are the risks of bulking agent injection?

There are some possible side effects to this procedure, but side effects can vary between individual cases so you should talk to your doctor for more details. Common side effects include

  • Mild burning on passing urine for a short time after the procedure
  • Mild bleeding in your urine for a short time after the procedure.

Less common side effects:

  • Bleeding and infection- as with any gynecological procedure, infection is a risk. Your doctor may give you a dose of antibiotics prior to the bulking injection. If you develop any symptoms of an infection, ensure you contact your doctor immediately.
  • In a very small number of cases a patient may temporarily have difficultly emptying the bladder completely, requiring a catheter.