Is Botox a Good Treatment for Overactive Bladder and Incontinence?

Is Botox a Good Treatment for Overactive Bladder and Incontinence?

Overactive bladder and urinary incontinence are embarrassing conditions for adult women. No one wants to pee in their pants, but it can happen when you suffer from urinary incontinence.

Sometimes the urine leaks from a sudden laugh or cough, which is known as stress incontinence. Alternatively, you could urinate from urge incontinence if you try holding your urine but fail to find a bathroom in time. Then you will urinate in your pants without being able to stop.

The worst scenario is when you suffer from both types of urinary incontinence. It can ultimately interfere with your daily life and cause you great pain and heartache. Women are at a higher risk of developing incontinence once they reach their late 40s. Once you notice yourself having uncontrollable urination, you should seek the help of a qualified urologist immediately.

The urologist will want to know more about your daily experiences, such as how often you go to the bathroom and how much you have to drink per day. After that, they will give your bladder an interactive urodynamics test to better understand how it functions.

Traditional Treatments for Stress and Urge Incontinence

If the urologist determines that you have stress incontinence, they may recommend you undergo pelvic floor muscle training or Kegel exercises. These are exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home. The urologist will also advise you to lose weight if you are overweight because the excess weight could be putting pressure on your bladder.

However, if you still experience stress incontinence symptoms after attempting these treatments, then your urologist may recommend surgery. This procedure involves inserting a durable sling material called a “hammock” to support the urethra and prevent sagging.  

As for urge incontinence, the American Urologic Association recommends Anticholinergic tablets to relax the bladder and prevent uncontrollable urination. But if the tablets don’t work, you could try using Botox as an alternative way to relax the bladder muscles.

Does Botox Work?

Botox is best known as a cosmetic treatment to relax facial muscles and improve appearance. Urologists have also discovered that Botox can relax bladder muscles to achieve an entirely different purpose.

The procedure involves the insertion of a cystoscope into the bladder. Once it passes through the urethra and reaches the bladder wall, a tiny needle injects Botox to relax the bladder muscles. That way, the bladder will be able to hold more urine and not force urine out uncontrollably.  This can only happen with the bladder muscles are relaxed.

Botox provides more time for someone to find a bathroom before they urinate. However, it is not a permanent solution that gives them the strength to hold urine indefinitely. It is merely supposed to allow you to get to a bathroom in time when you feel the urge to urinate.

If Botox treatment turns out to be effective for your incontinence problem, you will need to keep receiving the treatment every 6 to 9 months. It is a low-risk procedure with a 92% success rate. A small percentage of patients may develop a urinary tract infection, but that is countered by the antibiotics given to patients before the procedure.

About 8% of patients may develop an overly relaxed bladder after they get the Botox injection. In these cases, they’ll need to use a catheter temporarily to urinate. Fortunately, most patients don’t need a catheter after the Botox procedure is done.

The low risk of this procedure makes it a viable treatment option for anyone suffering from urge incontinence. If you’re desperate for incontinence relief, then talk with your urologist about Botox as an effective treatment option. It could help you restore your life to some sense of normalcy.

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