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Medical Moment: Dealing with SUI

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 7:26 PM EDT
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An estimated 15 million women in the U.S. deal with an accidental leak of urine after pressure on the bladder from movement, a cough or a sneeze.

A new procedure being used in the U.S. Could help these women get the help they need.

Playing pat-a-cake wasn’t as easy as pie for Nicole Murphy. In fact doing anything with her daughter was daunting. “Very embarrassing and terrifying,” Nicole says.

Nicole had stress urinary incontinence. She couldn’t do this without leaking.

“So I went from carrying a change of clothes for my daughter to carrying a change of clothes for me,” Nicole says.

Stress urinary incontinence is caused by weakness in the pelvic floor. About one in three women have it at some point in their lives. Childbirth is the main cause.

“What happens is the urethra loses support that it used to have and so women will leak typically starting with coughing and sneezing, lifting, laughing, jumping that kind of activity,” says Ravi Bukkapatnam, urologist at Tampa General Hospital.

Doctor Ravi Bukkapatnam used bulkamid to put a stop to her problem. The bulkamid bulking agent is injected into the urethral wall. “It’s a clear gel that is easily injected and can take shape and can really bolster the urethra,” Bukkapatnam says. “People have been trying to fix stress incontinence for the last 30 plus 40 years.”

Bulkamid has finally fixed Nicole’s problem. “I am ecstatic,” Nicole says. “I love my new urethra. I love the fact that I can be active with my daughter.”

Doctors say there are minimal, if any, side effects compared to sling surgery. Bulkamid was approved by the FDA in December.

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