A Variety of Treatment Options for Stress Urinary Incontinence

When it comes to SUI, the majority of women can be treated successfully and resume a full and active lifestyle. In most cases, your doctor will start with less invasive treatments such as physical therapy and lifestyle and behavioral modifications. Medical devices or surgery may be recommended if these treatments do not adequately help your bladder control symptoms.

First Line Treatments

Physical Therapy

The goal of physical therapy for treating stress incontinence symptoms is to
strengthen the pelvic floor muscles so that you can control urine output during everyday activities. Your physical therapist will perform a comprehensive
internal and external exam of the pelvic floor muscles. 

  • Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises – Pelvic floor exercises can help prevent urine leakage by strengthening the pelvic floor and sphincter muscles. Your physical therapist will show you how to perform these exercises to promote muscle strengthening, relaxation and coordination. Biofeedback can help determine if you are exercising the proper pelvic muscles.

Fluid and diet management

Changing the amount and timing of fluid intake during the day, as well as  avoiding common dietary irritants such as caffeine and tomato-based foods, may help bladder function.

Healthy lifestyle changes

Losing excess weight and quitting smoking (which leads to chronic cough) can help eliminate some of the pressure on your bladder.

Absorbent incontinence pads

Sometimes, treatments are not 100% effective and women with mild urine leakage may want to use absorbent pads for added protection.


Minimally Invasive Treatments 


Urethral bulking involves the injection of a special material called a bulking agentBulking implants for SUI around the urethra. Your doctor can perform this minimally invasive procedure under local anesthesia in the office or in an outpatient surgical center. The bulking agent helps build up the thickness of the urethral wall to support the bladder and form a tight seal to prevent urine leakage. Using a periurethral or transurethral approach, your doctor will inject the bulking material into the area around the urethra.

Benefits of Urethral Bulking

  • No incisions
  • Quick procedure with minimal side effects
  • Short recovery time


Bulkamid Hydrogel Therapy for Female SUI

Bulkamid is a soft hydrogel, also known as a urethral bulking agent, that acts as a barrier to prevent urine leakage. Consisting of 97.5% water, the hydrogel is natural and safe for the body. Delivered to the urethral opening by injection, Bulkamid provides additional volume to the urethra (the tube that carries urinary from the bladder to the outside of the body) to help prevent urine leakage from the bladder.

  • Bulkamid has been used for more than 15 years and in more than 45 countries worldwide for the effective treatment of SUI. 
  • 92% of patients are either cured of stress incontinence or experience vast, long-term improvement in their symptoms with Bulkamid. 


Learn More About Bulkamid and How It Works Here.

Urethral Sling

Urethral slings are the most common and effective surgical treatment option for SUI. 

Sling for SUIYour doctor will perform a minimally invasive procedure to place a sling, a small piece of synthetic mesh, under the urethra. The sling forms a hammock of support for your urethra, keeping it supported to eliminate accidental urine leakage.

Placement of the urethral sling is done as an outpatient procedure and only requires a small incision in the vagina. You can expect to go home a few hours after the procedure. Most women do not experience major pain or discomfort after the placement. You can return to light activity four to six weeks post-surgery; however, you should avoid heavy lifting, sexual intercourse and rigorous exercise for four to six weeks following your procedure. You doctor will discuss post-operative instructions with you.


  • A minimally invasive outpatient procedure
  • An effective treatment for SUI for more than 30 years
  • Many women see immediate results following placement of the sling
  • Covered by most major medical insurance


  • General risks associated with surgery
  • Serious complications are very rare but can include trouble with urination following the procedure, a reaction to the sling material, or return to incontinence


Learn about secondary surgical treatment options for SUI HERE.