Most people know BOTOX® can be used to treat certain types of wrinkles, but did you know it can also be used to treat overactive bladder? It’s true – the FDA has approved the use of BOTOX for the treatment of some types of overactive bladder (OAB).
How do Bladder Botox Injections Work?
BOTOX® works by blocking nerve signals sent from the bladder muscles to the brain. The overstimulated muscles responsible for overactive bladder leakage are unable to flex or contract, preventing urinary incontinence.
The bladder is lined with muscles that help it contract and expel urine. Overactive bladder occurs when these muscles become overstimulated and begin firing off messages to the brain at random times. The result: urine leakage – sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.
BOTOX® blocks the nerve signals between the muscles and the brain. When those muscles can’t communicate with the brain, they can’t flex or contract. On the face, for instance, BOTOX® works by preventing the muscles of the forehead or around the eyes from sending nerve signals to the brain. That means when you smile, for instance, the muscles that would normally cause crow’s feet to form aren’t “told” to contract, and those little, crinkly lines don’t form.
In the bladder, BOTOX® does the same thing, only this time, it relaxes the bladder muscles – not too much, but just enough to help prevent the spasms that can cause leakage. The FDA has approved BOTOX® for overactive bladder that occurs as a result of nerve damage, such as those with spinal injury or multiple sclerosis; but doctors can also use it for other kinds of OAB, based on a careful evaluation of the patient and the symptoms.
In fact, in one recent study of nearly 250 women with moderate to severe bladder incontinence, a single injection of BOTOX® was just as effective as pills at controlling loss of urine at six months, and more effective at 12 months after treatment. What’s more, women who received BOTOX® were twice as likely to report complete resolution of their symptoms compared to those who took oral medication.
To maintain the effects of BOTOX®, most women will need to have additional injections every nine months or so.
The bottom line: There are many options for dealing with overactive bladder; why live with symptoms? Schedule a consultation today and learn how we can help.
If you’re dealing with any type of incontinence, you owe it yourself and your health to be evaluated at the Incontinence Institute. Give us a call today at 1-800-771-1953 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Barry Jarnagin, Dr. Harriette Scarpero, or Dr. Melissa Kaufman.