BOTOX® Treatment for Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder causes a sudden and frequent urge to urinate, which may be accompanied by urine leakage. It is caused by the bladder muscles‘ contracting at inappropriate times, regardless of how much urine the bladder contains. Overactive bladder is a common condition; it is estimated to affect more than 30 million adults in the United States. It can develop in anyone, at any age, although it is most frequently affects women and the elderly.

There are many treatments, including lifestyle changes, Kegel exercises, biofeedback, nerve stimulation and medications, for overactive bladder. Recently, BOTOX® Cosmetic received FDA approval for treating overactive bladder in patients who have not found relief with other forms of therapy. BOTOX Cosmetic temporarily paralyzes muscles and blocks nerves. It is best known as an injectable cosmetic treatment for reducing the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles. When used to treat overactive bladder, BOTOX injections relax the bladder, increasing its storage capacity and lessening both the urge to urinate and the potential for leakage. BOTOX Cosmetic does not affect surrounding muscles, so their proper functionality is maintained.

Candidates for BOTOX Treatment

Candidates for BOTOX injections to treat an overactive bladder include most adult patients who have tried various forms of traditional treatments, including taking anticholinergics, without experiencing relief from their symptoms. BOTOX Cosmetic may not be considered appropriate, however, for those patients who:

  • Are allergic to any of its ingredients
  • Have an active urinary tract infection
  • Suffer from certain nerve or muscle disorders

Most patients who receive BOTOX treatment for overactive bladder see a noticeable decrease in symptoms.

The BOTOX Procedure

BOTOX treatment is typically provided in a physician‘s office, although it may take place in a hospital or other medical facility. There may be mild pain from BOTOX injections, so a local anesthetic or mild sedation may be given. The procedure generally lasts about 20 to 30 minutes. BOTOX Cosmetic is injected into various areas of the bladder; generally, between 10 and 20 locations are injected. Exactly how many areas are injected depends on the severity of the condition. It is often performed using a cystoscope, which helps the doctor to clearly see targeted areas within the bladder.

There is no recovery time needed after the procedure is performed. Patients may return to work and other normal activities the same day. BOTOX injections provide relief of overactive bladder symptoms for approximately 4 to 6 months, which means that most patients will require repeat treatments. However, BOTOX injections should not be given less than 12 weeks apart.

Risks of BOTOX Injections

Treating an overactive bladder with BOTOX injections is considered safe, although there are certain risks. Potential risks may include:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Muscle weakness
  • Painful urination
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder completely

If a patient is not able to fully empty the bladder, a catheter may be necessary on a short-term basis. These serious side effects occur rarely.

Additional Resources

Alvarado La Mesa Urology

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