BOTOX Bladder Injections
Botox is typically thought of only in a very narrow application within the cosmetic world for patients looking to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, especially on their faces. However, this potent neurotoxin has many applications across various conditions and medical specialties. One such application is in urology and specifically for treating certain bladder conditions, including overactive bladder, urge incontinence, and neurogenic bladder.
BOTOX works by directly temporarily paralyzing bladder muscle fibers through a series of injections and dramatically reduces urge incontinence symptoms for qualifying patients. BOTOX has been proven effective, and as such, we encourage patients to visit us at the first signs of incontinence so they don’t have to live with the impediment that almost invariable goes hand in hand.
BOTOX for Urge Incontinence
Men and women experiencing the symptoms of urge incontinence, including an urgent need to go to the bathroom and often leaking if one is not near, can benefit from BOTOX therapy. For most men and women, 100 units of Botox is sufficient to offer relief, and patients go home the same day, already feeling some resolution and certainly having peace of mind. Over the next several days, they will experience the full effects of BOTOX. These treatments last around six to nine months – so while initially convenient, they do require repeating, which becomes problematic for some men and women.
BOTOX for Neurogenic Bladder
Neurogenic bladder is a condition in which patients lose some control over their bladder due to nervous system damage. This can come from brain or spinal cord diseases or traumas. Most commonly, we see patients with Parkinson’s who eventually develop neurogenic bladder as part of their condition. BOTOX is an excellent option for these patients and can reduce bladder spasms, thus minimizing the embarrassing symptoms and effects of urge incontinence.
How Long Does It Last?
The nature of BOTOX injections means that their effectiveness will eventually wear off. Some patients will achieve more extended relief, while others will have a shorter duration of effectiveness. Fortunately, the injections can be administered up to every three months if needed, but most patients can achieve significant relief with two injections per year.
What You Should Expect
After a discussion with one of our providers, and the determination has been made that BOTOX is a good next step, we will perform a cystoscopy, which involves threading a small camera up the urethra and into the bladder. While visualizing the bladder, we can inject small doses of BOTOX into the appropriate musculature. Discomfort is minor as we use a very effective local anesthetic. Typically, recovery is swift with no limitations in activity. Any discomfort or burning sensation from the cystoscopy or injections subsides rapidly, and patients can get on with their lives.
Most patients respond very well to BOTOX therapy for their urge continents. However, this procedure has risks. The most common, but fortunately rare, risks include:
The Effectiveness of Botox Versus Other Therapies
While Botox is inherently a temporary solution to urinary incontinence, it can be exceptionally effective, often on par with nerve stimulation. The ease with which we can perform the procedure and the rarity of significant risks in the hands of an experienced provider like those at Urologic Surgeons of Washington make this a reasonable option for anyone seeking minimally invasive care. However, the fact that it needs to be repeated (usually every 6 to 9 months) is a major drawback when nerve stimulation, if it works, is often a permanent fix.
Urinary incontinence is not something to be embarrassed by, especially because we have so many effective treatments for patients in virtually any form. From surgical options like artificial urinary sphincters and male slings, to injected options like BOTOX, or stimulation with sacral neuromodulation, there has never been a better time to seek treatment. To schedule a consultation with Urologic Surgeons of Washington, we encourage you to call us for an appointment at one of our two offices in the area.