Examples of nonsurgical treatment options for SUI include:

  • Kegel Exercises: A type of exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor by contracting and relaxing the muscles that surround the opening of the urethra, vagina, and rectum. These exercises improve the muscles’ strength and function and may help to hold urine in the bladder longer.
  • Pessary: A removable device that is inserted into the vagina against the vaginal wall and urethra to support the bladder neck. This helps reposition the urethra to reduce SUI.
  • Transurethral Bulking Agents: Collagen injections around the urethra that make the space around the urethra thicker, thus helping to control urine leakage.



Not every woman with SUI will need surgery. Factors to consider in deciding whether to undergo surgery include:

  • severity of SUI symptoms and degree of impact on daily activities;
  • desire for future children;
  • sexual activity; and
  • whether you also have pelvic organ prolapse.

Surgery to decrease or prevent urine leakage can be done through the vagina or abdomen. The urethra or bladder neck is supported with either stitches alone or with stitches plus a material such as surgical mesh.

Surgical mesh in the form of a “sling” (sometimes called “tape”) can be permanently implanted to support the urethra or bladder neck for the surgical repair of SUI. This is commonly referred to as a “sling procedure.”

The multi-incision sling procedure can be performed in two ways, with one vaginal incision and either two abdominal (retropubic) or two groin/thigh incisions (transobturator). Single-incision mini-slings, requiring only a single vaginal incision, are also used to treat female SUI.


 Front-view diagram of the female bladder and sphincter muscles shown in cross-section to illustrate the full bladder and with labels pointing to the bladder muscle, bladder neck, sphincter muscles, ur

Image Source: National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse