Stress urinary incontinence: how the Bulkamid procedure can help

Mr Abhishek Gupta

Bladder problems are very common, affecting one in three women and one in five men. If you suffer with leaks, you're not alone and the caring staff at our CQC rated Outstanding hospital are here to help and support you.

Mr Abhishek Gupta is one of our Consultant Gynaecologists, who specialises in female urinary incontinence, uterine and vaginal prolapse, heavy and painful periods, fibroid uterus, pelvic pain and general gynaecology problems.

What is stress urinary incontinence?

Stress urinary incontinence is the involuntary leaking of urine which happens with any form of physical movement that increases your tummy pressure. So, if you cough, sneeze, lift weights or change posture, the pressure on your tummy muscles increase which in turn puts pressure on your bladder. This then causes leaks.

What is a bulking agent?

A bulking agent is a form of procedure for treatment of stress incontinence. At Benenden Hospital we use Bulkamid. Bulkamid is a permanent gel which is injected under local anaesthetic in our clean and modern Ambulatory Care Unit (ACU).

Bulkamid is a day-case procedure, meaning you can go back to work or home after receiving the treatment.

Who is the most suitable for this procedure?

If you're suffering from stress urinary incontinence to the point where it is affecting your quality of life, you'll be suitable for this procedure. We do make sure our patients have tried all the lifestyle adjustments before opting for Bulkamid.

These lifestyle changes include: optimising your weight, tracking your drinking habits, practicing pelvic floor exercises and making dietary alterations. If these have not worked, then you can opt for the Bulkamid injections.

What will happen before the procedure?

Before the procedure, the nurses or the Consultant will go through the treatment with you and you will have a read through the leaflets. They will make sure all your questions and queries are answered and the consent forms will be signed. Once you and your Consultant are happy that you understand the Bulkamid procedure, you'll be invited into the ACU treatment room.

Apart from this pre-procedure consultation, there’s not much preparation for your Bulkamid procedure. But for the safety of yourself and the staff at Benenden Hospital, you will be required to have a Covid-19 swab and subsequently isolate for 72 hours before you come in for your treatment.

How is urethral bulking performed?

  1. You will arrive at the hospital and proceed to the ACU
  2. Your urine will be checked for infection and you'll have your pre-procedure consultation
  3. You will get changed into a hospital gown before entering the treatment room
  4. The local anaesthetic gel will be applied to the urethra with the aid of a surgical telescope, this takes less than one minute to work
  5. Next, you will receive four site Bulkamid injections near the urethra in the vagina which creates a cushion effect under your bladder. The injections take 20 seconds each
  6. The Bulkamid procedure is completed in under five minutes!

What happens post-procedure?

While waiting in the ACU recovery area, you will have 100-200ml of fluid in your bladder. This is to ensure that you can empty your bladder after the Bulkamid procedure. Once you have urinated well, you can return to the comfort of your own home.

We ask all our patients to drink lots of water to prevent infection, to avoid rigorous forms of exercises and to avoid sexual intercourse for three to four weeks to allow the gel to set and so the injection site can heal to prevent any leaking.

There is a small chance - due to the gel and swelling around the procedure site - that you may struggle to empty your bladder. To combat this, our nurses will fit you with a temporary catheter for 3-5 days until it heals. After this, you'll need to return to the hospital to have the catheter removed.

The success rate of Bulkamid is around 55-60%, so it has a slightly lower success rate compared to other procedures. As a result, you may opt to have the Bulkamid injections topped up.

Don’t wait to get on top of your health

To book an appointment, complete our online enquiry form or contact our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158.

For male urology, join our Urolift webinar on 10 November at 6pm with Consultant Urological Surgeon, Mr Steve Garnett.

Published on 06 October 2021