Overactive Bladder

Botox for Overactive Bladder

  • Bring on the Botox

    Botox isn’t just for wrinkles anymore. In 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the use of Botox to include overactive bladder (OAB).

    Botox commonly is associated with smoothing wrinkles for a more youthful appearance. But recent research has shown that Botox can successfully treat other conditions too, including urinary incontinence.

    Click through the slideshow to learn more about how Botox can help manage OAB.

  • What Is Overactive Bladder?

    If you aren’t sure whether you have OAB, ask yourself these questions:

    • Do I often experience an urgent need to urinate right away?
    • Do I need to urinate at least eight times during the day, or more than twice at night?
    • Do I frequently leak urine?

    If your answer was “yes” to at least two of these questions, then you may have OAB, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

  • How Is Overactive Bladder Treated?

    In order to manage OAB, your doctor may recommend different types of treatments that work by calming the nerves and muscles around your bladder. These medicines are available in different forms, including tablets, patches, or liquids.

    Botox is a recently approved treatment for OAB that’s delivered via injection. It works by blocking the muscles and nerves that lead to a feeling of urgently needing to urinate.

  • Proven Treatment

    A 2012 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found that Botox worked just as well as tablets in treating urinary incontinence. In fact, Botox appears to work slightly better.

    The research, led by Anthony G. Visco, MD, of Duke Medicine, compared a type of drug called anticholinergics with Botox.

    The study found that after just one month—and still after one year—a higher percentage of women taking Botox injections reported control of their urinary incontinence symptoms.

  • What to Expect from Botox

    If your doctor recommends Botox treatment for your overactive bladder symptoms, likely you’ll receive the treatment in your doctor’s office. The injection procedure is short and well-tolerated by most people.

    Once you’ve received a Botox injection, its effects can last up to eight months. After that, your doctor will advise you if you need another injection.

  • After Treatment

    There is no limitation to the amount of time patients use Botox therapy. However, the FDA notes that there should be at least 12 weeks between treatments.

    The International Urogynecological Association reports that Botox takes time to work effectively. But most people will notice some symptom relief from OAB within two weeks.

  • Some Side Effects

    While research showed that Botox helped manage symptoms of OAB, it did have side effects.

    The NEJM study found that Botox injections led to a higher number of urinary tract infections in women compared to those who used anticholinergic pills. The injections also led to higher rates of catheter use after two months on the study. 

    The pills, however, were more likely than Botox to cause dry mouth.

  • Another Option

    According to the FDA, around 33 million Americans suffer from OAB.

    With the recent approval of Botox to treat the condition, sufferers now have another option for relief. This can be particularly helpful to patients who don’t respond to other types of treatments.

    Check with your doctor to find out if Botox for OAB is the best treatment for you.

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