Approximately 33 million Americans deal with the symptoms of overactive bladder. This is not a single disease, but several urinary symptoms that are grouped together. This condition can be very bothersome for some patients, so exploring the different treatment options is a good choice so that patients know all that is available to possibly help them.
How Overactive Bladder Affects Patients
There are a few symptoms patients might experience when dealing with overactive bladder. The severity varies greatly among patients. Symptoms might include:
- Suddenly needing to urinate and having difficulty controlling it
- Frequent urination (generally at least eight times daily, but possibly more)
- Urge incontinence
- Getting up from sleep at least twice a night to urinate
These symptoms can make it hard for patients to do things that keep them away from a bathroom. For example, traveling and long drives, or working somewhere that does not allow bathroom breaks whenever you might need one.
Using Botox to Treat Overactive Bladder
In 2013, Botox was approved for use for overactive bladder by the US Food and Drug Administration. Anticholinergic drugs are among the most common treatments for this bladder issue, but when it fails to control your symptoms, Botox might be a viable option. It may help to control your symptoms by calming the nerves that overstimulate the muscles in the bladder to help reduce the urgent need to urinate.
The Botox is injected directly into the muscles of the bladder. This is a relatively fast procedure and most patients are able to go home within an hour of the injections being administered. Most doctors will want you to urinate before leaving the hospital or clinic. On average, the results can last as long as eight months and there is no limit concerning how many treatments you can have. However, the FDA does suggest that you wait 12 weeks in between injections.
Considerations with Botox
When using Botox for overactive bladder symptoms, some side effects are possible. For most patients, the side effects do not remain long-term, if you continue to receive treatment. If any are particularly bothersome, talk to your doctor. During the initial 12 weeks of treatment, the most commonly reported include:
- Urinary tract infection
- Blood in the urine
- Urinary retention