Overactive bladder causes a sudden and frequent urge to urinate, which may be accompanied by urine leakage. It is caused by the bladder muscles‘ contracting at inappropriate times, regardless of how much urine the bladder contains. Overactive bladder is a common condition; it is estimated to affect more than 30 million adults in the United States. It can develop in anyone, at any age, although it is most frequently affects women and the elderly.
There are many treatments, including lifestyle changes, Kegel exercises, biofeedback, nerve stimulation and medications, for overactive bladder. Recently, BOTOX® Cosmetic received FDA approval for treating overactive bladder in patients who have not found relief with other forms of therapy. BOTOX Cosmetic temporarily paralyzes muscles and blocks nerves. It is best known as an injectable cosmetic treatment for reducing the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles.
When used to treat overactive bladder, BOTOX injections relax the bladder, increasing its storage capacity and lessening both the urge to urinate and the potential for leakage. BOTOX Cosmetic does not affect surrounding muscles, so their proper functionality is maintained.
Candidates for BOTOX Treatment
Candidates for BOTOX injections to treat an overactive bladder include most adult patients who have tried various forms of traditional treatments, including taking anticholinergics, without experiencing relief from their symptoms. BOTOX Cosmetic may not be considered appropriate, however, for those patients who:
- Are allergic to any of its ingredients
- Have an active urinary tract infection
- Suffer from certain nerve or muscle disorders
Most patients who receive BOTOX treatment for overactive bladder see a noticeable decrease in symptoms.
The BOTOX Procedure
BOTOX treatment is typically provided in a physician‘s office, although it may take place in a hospital or other medical facility. There may be mild pain from BOTOX injections, so a local anesthetic or mild sedation may be given. The procedure generally lasts about 20 to 30 minutes. BOTOX Cosmetic is injected into various areas of the bladder; generally, between 10 and 20 locations are injected. Exactly how many areas are injected depends on the severity of the condition. It is often performed using a cystoscope, which helps the doctor to clearly see targeted areas within the bladder.
There is no recovery time needed after the procedure is performed. Patients may return to work and other normal activities the same day. BOTOX injections provide relief of overactive bladder symptoms for approximately 4 to 6 months, which means that most patients will require repeat treatments. However, BOTOX injections should not be given less than 12 weeks apart.
Risks of BOTOX Injections
Treating an overactive bladder with BOTOX injections is considered safe, although there are certain risks. Potential risks may include:
- Urinary tract infection
- Muscle weakness
- Painful urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder completely
If a patient is not able to fully empty the bladder, a catheter may be necessary on a short-term basis. These serious side effects occur rarely.
Who Is At-Risk for an Overactive Bladder?
As people age, the need to urinate more frequently may increase. This makes people age 65 or older more prone to the symptoms of an overactive bladder. Women who have gone through menopause may also experience the need to use the restroom more often than they used to. However, there are other health conditions that may put you at risk for OAB, such as prostrate problems, diabetes, MS, or the after-effects of having a stroke. People who continuously drink certain beverages and foods such as alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods may lead to an overactive bladder.
How Often Is Too Often to Use the Bathroom?
The average adult typically urinates between four to ten times every 24 hours. If you are feeling the need to use the restroom more than this, it could be a sign you have an overactive bladder. If you notice your need to urinate also interferes with your daily life, frequent urination, and OAB could be affecting you.
Is It Normal to Need to Urinate in the Middle of the Night?
It is often normal to wake up once a night to urinate as your body digests food and fluids from what you ate that day while you sleep. However, needing to go more than once a night could suggest you have nocturia. Nocturia is the medical term for waking up to urinate in the middle of the night more than once. This condition can affect your sleeping patterns, the amount of rest you get, and your daily mood. Drinking right before bedtime or drinking heavy liquids such as caffeine and alcohol at dinner may also contribute to needing to urinate frequently at night.
What Causes an Overactive Bladder?
In addition to diet and age, there are other health conditions that can lead to the symptoms of an overactive bladder. These can include disorders that make the brain think you need to urinate when your bladder isn’t really full or muscle complications that can cause your bladder to contract at the wrong times. The following conditions may cause OAB:
- Neurological disorders
- Bladder stones
- Bladder cancer
- Drinking heavy fluids
- Poor kidney function
- Bladder obstruction
- Hormonal changes such as menopause
What Happens If I Leave My Overactive Bladder Untreated?
Many people falsely believe that the symptoms of an overactive bladder can go away on their own once they urinate. However, this is not the case. As a chronic condition, OAB needs to be treated, and if left untreated, it can affect your daily life. OAB can make traveling, social functions, being outdoors, physical activity, and sex difficult, as you will always need to stop all activities in order to use the bathroom. It’s important to prioritize seeking professional care when it comes to your bladder, as even the simplest of signs may suggest a more serious health condition.
Schedule a Consultation
At Greater Hartford Urology Group, our highly-trained team of expert urologists understands that relieving your overactive bladder symptoms can greatly improve your lifestyle. If you are interested in Botox treatment for OAB, contact us today by clicking here to find out more about your eligibility! To schedule your first consultation with us, call (860) 522-2251. We are proud to serve patients in the greater Hartford, Enfield, and Glastonbury areas of Connecticut.