Greater Boston Urology Blog

Bulkamid for Female Stress Urinary Incontinence

If you're a woman who's ever peed a little while doing something as simple as coughing or sneezing, you know how distressing stress urinary incontinence (SUI) can be.

Common treatment options for SUI include pelvic floor physical therapy and surgical options, such as a mesh sling or colposuspension. Today, we want to talk about a new treatment for SUI that's now available called Bulkamid, which is a urethral bulking agent.

As with all content on our blog, the following information is educational in nature, not medical advice. Always talk to your physician about your specific health care questions and conditions.

What is stress urinary incontinence?

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is urine leakage with activity. Women often report urine leakage with a cough, laugh, sneeze, or during exercise. Factors that can influence the development of SUI include aging, childbirth, obesity, and pelvic floor disorders.

It's important to note that SUI is different from overactive bladder syndrome (OAB), which involves frequent urination, sudden urgency to go, and/or getting up multiple times a night to urinate (nocturia).

OAB is a problem with the function of the muscle (the bladder). Stress urinary incontinence is a structural problem. So while medications can work on overactive bladder conditions, medications don't work on SUI because medications don’t typically affect or influence structural conditions.

The newest treatment option for SUI is Bulkamid. Urethral bulking is a procedure that has been performed by urologists and urogynecologists for years; however, Bulkamid is a new, more effective material being injected.

What is Bulkamid?

Bulkamid is a urethral bulking agent made of soft hydrogel that's injected into the urethral wall via a syringe. The hydrogel consists of 97.5% water and 2.5% polyacrylamide. The goal of the bulking agent is to restore the natural closing pressure of the urethra. This will help prevent urine from leaking out during normal daily activities like coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising.

Bulkamid is for female patients only.

Is Bulkamid FDA approved?

Yes, Bulkamid has been FDA approved since January of 2020.

What happens during the Bulkamid procedure?

Dr. Angel Marie Johnson, our urogynecologist, performs this procedure in the office while you are awake. Your comfort is always a top priority. Most patients don't feel anything more than a slight scratch/sting as the needle enters the urethral wall.

During the Bulkamid procedure, a small camera or cystoscope is inserted into the urethra. Using a syringe, Dr. Johnson will perform four injections of Bulkamid into the wall of the urethra. Then, the cystoscope is removed.

What are the benefits of using Bulkamid?

Bulkamid is a short, office-based procedure performed while you are awake. You can drive yourself to and from the appointment and benefits are felt same-day.

Bulkamid is also extremely effective. According to a recent study, 92% of women report being cured or improved.[1]

Does insurance cover Bulkamid for stress urinary incontinence?

Coverage can vary, depending on your insurance carrier. Always double check with your carrier if you're unsure.

Is Bulkamid available at Greater Boston Urology?

Yes! Greater Boston Urology is proud to offer Bulkamid to female patients with stress urinary incontinence. Make an appointment and ask your GBU physician if Bulkamid is right for you.

[1] Itkonen-Freitas AM et al. Tension Free Vaginal Tape Vs Polyacrylamide Hydrogel Injection For Primary Stress Urinary Incontinence: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Urol. Vol 203, 372 – 378, 2020.

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