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Urethral Bulking: What to Expect at Home

Side internal view of female pelvic organs, including uterus, bladder, urethra, vagina, and rectum, with detail showing bulking agent around urethra near bladder.

Your Recovery

Urethral bulking was done to help treat your urinary leakage problem. Your doctor injected a gel-like substance around your urethra. This thickens the wall of the urethra so it seals more tightly when you hold back urine.

You may be sore in the area and feel some burning when you urinate. It's common to have a little blood in your urine. These symptoms should start to get better within a day or two.

Some people may need more than one treatment for it to work well.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?


  • Rest when you feel tired.
  • You can do your normal activities when it feels okay to do so.
  • Many people are able to return to work the day after the procedure.
  • Allow the area to heal. Don't move quickly or lift anything heavy for 2 weeks or until your doctor says it's okay.
  • You can shower after the procedure, but avoid taking a hot bath for a few days. Soaking in hot water too soon may soften the bulking agent and affect how well it works.


  • Drink plenty of fluids. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • If your bowel movements are not regular right after the procedure, try to avoid constipation and straining. Drink plenty of water. Your doctor may suggest fibre, a stool softener, or a mild laxative.


  • If needed, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter pain medicine.
  • If you stopped taking aspirin or some other blood thinner, your doctor will tell you when to start taking it again.
  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. You will also get instructions about taking any new medicines.

Other instructions

  • If you got medicine to relax you during your procedure:
    • Do not drive or operate machinery until the medicine wears off and you can think clearly. Your doctor may tell you not to drive or operate machinery until the day after your procedure.
    • Do not sign legal documents or make major decisions until the medicine wears off and you can think clearly. The anesthesia can make it hard for you to fully understand what you are agreeing to.
  • Avoid putting anything inside your vagina for 2 weeks or until your doctor says it's okay. This includes having sex and using tampons.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have trouble urinating or can't urinate at all.
  • You have severe or increasing pain.
  • You have heavy bleeding, including bright red urine.
  • You have symptoms of a urinary tract infection. These may include:
    • Pain or burning when you urinate.
    • A frequent need to urinate without being able to pass much urine.
    • Pain in the flank, which is just below the rib cage and above the waist on either side of the back.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you do not get better as expected.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.