Botox is a popular cosmetic treatment that smooths wrinkles by relaxing the underlying muscles. These muscle-relaxing properties also make Botox an effective treatment for an overactive bladder. Urology Group of Florida physicians use Botox to address urinary incontinence, helping to prevent the bladder contractions that cause leakages and are responsible for that constant urge to use the bathroom.
What is Botox?
Botox is a muscle-relaxing neurotoxin with a number of medical and cosmetic uses. It’s injected directly into muscles, where it blocks nerve signals and inhibits those muscles from contracting.
You may recognize Botox as a treatment for wrinkles,
and the reason it’s so effective in smoothing out your skin is that many wrinkles result from muscle tension in the face.
Similarly, if you have an overactive bladder, your nerves are over-stimulating the muscles in your bladder. Botox can reduce these signals as well.
How does Botox treat an overactive bladder?
If you have an overactive bladder, marked by frequent, sudden urges to urinate, the first line of treatment is usually an anticholinergic medicine designed to relax the bladder and prevent bladder spasms, which cause urine to leak.
However, these drugs don’t work for everyone, and if you’re still experiencing symptoms after taking an anticholinergic, or if you can’t tolerate the side effects, Botox may be an effective treatment for you.
Like other urinary incontinence treatments, Botox targets your bladder muscles. However, instead of prescribing a pill, your doctor at Advanced Urology of South Florida injects Botox directly into your bladder tissue. After the Botox begins to work, you’ll experience fewer contractions or spasms of the bladder, and you won’t feel the need to urinate as frequently or urgently.
What can I expect during a Botox treatment for overactive bladder?
Before you receive your Botox injections, your doctor injects a local anesthetic into your bladder, which fully numbs the organ. Then, after numbing your urethra with a topical gel, your doctor passes a tube called a cystoscope through your urethra into your bladder.
The cystoscope has a small needle attached to the end, which administers several small injections of Botox into your bladder muscles and wall.
It typically takes 1-2 weeks for the Botox to begin providing relief for your overactive bladder, and the effects last up to eight months. It’s safe to continue receiving Botox for as long as you need it, though you should leave at least 12 weeks between treatments.