Botox has become increasingly popular as a treatment for a wide variety of conditions, such as inappropriate sweating and migraine headaches.
Botox has also been approved for the treatment of urge incontinence. Urge incontinence causes a sudden, unavoidable urge to urinate which occurs frequently. Incontinence may occur when the urge strikes and a bathroom cannot be reached in time. Some individuals are plagued with the urge to void dozens of times every day, even when their bladder is empty. How can Botox help? Botox (botulinum toxin A), when injected into the bladder wall, reduces the urge to urinate.
A new study from the NIH and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine has found Botox to be highly effective in treating women with urge incontinence. Further, it can be up to twice as effective as the medication commonly used to treat symptoms of urge incontinence and can completely resolve symptoms for some individuals.
Botox has been used when medications (called anticholinergics) have been ineffective in treating urinary urge incontinence, but the new research seems to suggest that Botox should be a first-line treatment, rather than a fall-back treatment when medications fail. Twenty-seven percent of the women in the study treated with Botox experienced a total resolution of their symptoms, while others noted a marked improvement in symptoms.
Anticholinergics used to treat urge incontinence can have unpleasant side effects, including dry mouth and constipation.
Botox does wear off after several months, meaning that a repeat treatment may be necessary. Some individuals may experience bladder infection.
If you are suffering from urinary urge incontinence, talk to your healthcare professional to see if Botox may be right for you, particularly if you have tried lifestyle remedies and medication and have found neither to be helpful in controlling your symptoms.
While it is not uncommon to read about the benefits and effectiveness of treating urinary incontinence, one doctor in Spain argues that the social ramifications are so great that they drive down the true cost of these procedures.
In 2012, Dr. Montesino Semper analysed the financial cost of providing surgical treatment of urinary incontinence to women under the Navarre Public Health Service. He found that the relatively low cost of these operations are further enhanced by the immediate benefits to a woman’s quality of life (such as reductions in anxiety, depression, and insecurity), as well as to the medical system that might otherwise continue to treat symptoms.
Given that most surgical treatments of urinary incontinence can be performed on an out-patient basis and under local anesthesia, his argument highlights the win-win relationship between the inexpensive treatment and the individual gains as reported by patients.
Dr. Semper advocated that surgical treatments for urinary incontinence were not only effective, but that they are “socially profitable,” in that they help a patient regain a higher quality of life through a relatively low-cost solution. For some patients, regaining a higher quality of life may have been related to factors like being young, not obese, and experiencing stress incontinence.
A relatively new treatment for urinary incontinence has been found to be a risky option for many women, yet most are not being warned prior to surgery about the negative possibilities.
TVT (transvaginal tape) involves implanting a mesh sling under a woman’s bladder in order to support the urethra that have been damaged during and after childbirth and help women regain bladder control. While this procedure is favoured because it can be performed under local anaesthesia and only takes half an hour, the risks may be overlooked while assessing suitable interventions.
Risks have been found to include the disintegration of the mesh into the surrounding tissues, resulting in painful lacerations. These cuts have been so debilitating to the thousands of women who have undergone this treatment that many have difficulty walking or engaging in sexual intercourse because of the pain. In addition, incontinence may return, occurring as a more severe rate. Unfortunately, it has been found that women are not being warned of the risks associated with TVT, and end up needing additional surgery to remove defective tape.