When your bladder is not functioning as it should and you are dealing with urinary incontinence, it can seem like you have to plan your day around the problem. Thankfully, several effective treatments target bladder dysfunction. Botulinum toxin (usually known by the brand name Botox) has been an FDA-approved treatment option for overactive bladder since 2013. Botox for bladder dysfunction may be a viable option for individuals with urinary incontinence.
What Is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence (UI) is a common condition that affects more than 25 million adults in the United States. While the condition can affect anyone at any age, women over the age of 50 are more likely to have issues with UI. UI can be an embarrassing issue that gets in the way of physical, social and emotional well-being.
Urinary incontinence is a symptom of an overactive bladder. When you have an overactive bladder, individuals often:
- Experience sudden urges to urinate that are hard to control
- Experience involuntary urine loss (urinary incontinence) immediately after feeling the urge
- Urinate more frequently than usual (eight times a day or more)
- Have to get up two or more times after going to bed to urinate
Which Bladder Conditions Does Botox Treat?
Botox may be a viable treatment option for a few different types of bladder dysfunction that cause urinary incontinence in adults and children. Overactive bladder in adults, the most common culprit behind UI, can be treated with Botox injections.
Another form of UI that is linked to detrusor overactivity may also be treated with Botox. This issue is most often associated with certain neurological conditions, such as spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis. In these cases, Botox may be used for both adults and children who are at least five years of age.
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What Botox Treatment for Bladder Dysfunction Involves
Botox for urinary dysfunction is a straightforward procedure done in the office under local anesthesia. A scope is inserted into the bladder, and then a small needle is passed through the scope to administer the Botox solution into the bladder muscles. The procedure is quick, with the injection complete in as little as five minutes.
Are Repeat Treatments Necessary?
Botox treatment for bladder dysfunction is not a permanent fix for the symptoms. Just as Botox wears off for wrinkles, Botox’s efficacy for relaxing bladder muscles is temporary but lasts about seven to eight months on average. Most patients see an improvement for six to twelve months. When Botox is no longer helping, repeat injections are typical.
Benefits of Botox for Bladder Dysfunction
According to UCLA Health, around 70 to 75 percent of patients see a drastic improvement in symptoms and quality of life after Botox treatment. Benefits of Botox for bladder dysfunction include:
- Reduced or eliminated UI episodes
- Reduced or eliminated instances of severe urinary urgency
- Fewer urinations through the day and night
- Lowered reliance on UI pads
- Improved quality of life
Possible Side Effects of Botox
While Botox is FDA-approved for the treatment of bladder dysfunction, Botox does come along with a few potential side effects, such as:
- Post-void residual – The bladder may not empty completely during urination
- Blood in the urine – Caused by leukocyte blood cells in urine
- Urinary tract infections – May or may not be related to residual urine
- Difficulty urinating – Linked to lack of bladder contractions
It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to Botox, even though this is rare. An allergic reaction can include symptoms like trouble swallowing or breathing and should be treated immediately.
Find Out More About Botox for Bladder Dysfunction
Bladder dysfunction can impede your ability to live a normal life, but treatments like Botox may help get you back to your regular routine. Looking to learn more about the latest treatments for bladder dysfunction? Contact Coyle Institute at 850-637-8258 to schedule an appointment.