Botox can Treat an Overactive Bladder

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.

Filed under: Incontinence surgery

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