Devices & Bulking Agents for Female Urinary Incontinence

At NYU Langone, doctors may treat stress incontinence in women with a removable device called a pessary, which supports the urethra, or with injectable agents that help the urethra to close tightly after urination.

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Your doctor may recommend a vaginal pessary, which can help support the bladder and urethra. This removable device may be made of rubber, plastic, or silicone. It is inserted into the vagina to hold prolapsed, or fallen, organs in place, or to support the urethra—or both—and to prevent stress incontinence. Your doctor finds the pessary that best fits your body. 

Specialists can teach you how to insert and remove the device and how to care for it. It can be removed prior to sex and for weekly cleaning. Your doctor may prescribe a vaginally applied estrogen cream or gel, or a tablet inserted into the vagina to help prevent any vaginal irritation. 

Urethral Bulking

Doctors use urethral bulking for mild stress incontinence. It involves injecting bulking agents, which can be natural or synthetic materials, around the urethra to build up its thickness. This helps the urethra close tightly when you hold urine in. 

The procedure, which requires only local anesthesia, may need to be repeated periodically depending on your symptoms. 

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