How Can Botox Help Overactive Bladder (OAB) Issues?

Most people know Botox as the popular cosmetic treatment that smoothes fine lines and wrinkles, but it actually has very effective application for persistent and troubling overactive bladder issues as well!

An overactive bladder is marked by the sudden and intense need urge to urinate, urinating more than ten times in a day, waking at night to urinate, and making lifestyle adjustments to avoid potential situations in which you would not have access to a restroom. These issues stem from uncontrollable contractions in the bladder which cause leaking and urination urgency. OAB is a chronic issue that causes not only discomfort but also annoyance and inconvenience on a daily basis. Though it’s possible to live with OAB, nobody should have to. Oral medication is the standard treatment for OAB; it targets the nerves and muscles around the bladder to keep them calm, but often causes dry mouth or doesn’t work effectively. With its recent 2013 FDA approval, Botox has actually been proven as a longer-lasting, more effective technique to fix OAB than oral medication.

Botox is a prescription medication approved by the FDA in 2013 for injection directly into the bladder muscle to block the signals that instigate symptoms of an overactive bladder. Despite this signal block, the amount of Botox injected is appropriately limited so the body can still allow the bladder to contract enough to urinate at appropriate intervals. Botox successfully reduces daily leakage, eliminates the strong and sudden need to urinate, and allows normal urination intervals throughout the day.

The Botox treatment is very simple and lasts a mere 30 minutes in a doctor’s office. The bladder is flushed and numbed with a catheter and local anesthesia. Several injections are then made in the bladder to ensure the Botox spreads evenly through the area. The anesthesia makes this a painless procedure. One Botox treatment for OAB takes about two weeks to work effectively and can last as long as six months. OAB Botox injections easily be redone at the conclusion of that six month time period. It only costs about $125 out of pocket, and most insurance plans cover the procedure since it is a legitimate medical process. Studies show Botox for OAB to be very effective, with up to 87% symptom improvement, including a 75% decrease in sudden urgency.

Botox for OAB has few reported side-effects. Slight blood may be found in urine after the injections since the Botox needles pierce the walls of the bladder, but this doesn’t last for very long. It’s also possible for an infection to develop, but antibiotics are provided to avoid the infection entirely. Lastly, some patients report not being able to completely empty their bladders, requiring a catheter to pass all urine.

While alternatives to OAB Botox exist, they are not nearly as simple. Bladder augmentation, for example, is a procedure to make the bladder larger by reshaping a piece of intestine to be fit into the bladder. Botox is without a doubt the simplest procedure available to alleviate overactive bladder issues for many months at a time. It’s simple, safe, and effective!