Urethral bulking agents and be injected into the wall of the urethra to reduce involuntary leakage of urine during activity such as coughing, sneezing, lifting, exercising, etc. These agents increase the resistance in the urethra by essentially narrowing the urethral tube.
Urethral bulking agents are delivered through a small needle that is placed through a cystoscope that is inserted into the urethra, after the urethra is anesthetized with a local anesthetic gel. The injection procedure itself takes just a few minutes.
Usually the effects are immediate. Approximately 25 percent of patients will experience a complete cure of stress incontinence, 50 percent will experience improvement, and in 25 percent of patients urethral bulking does not produce a significant response. Sometimes a second injection about one month later may be necessary. It is important to understand that urethral bulking usually has a limited duration of effect and in successful cases can be expected to last up to one year and then reinjection may be necessary. The most common side effects are bleeding, which is usually self-limited and does not require treatment, and difficulty urinating which can last for a few days.