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Botox® is often associated with treating wrinkles, but it can also provide relief to patients experiencing an overactive bladder by “numbing” the bladder muscle.
Having an overactive bladder (OAB) can negatively impact your quality of life, often leaving you rushing to the bathroom every 30 to 60 minutes. In more severe cases, patients with an overactive bladder have to plan outings or road trips around proximity to a bathroom.
If you’ve tried using oral medications to address an overactive bladder and you’re still not experiencing any relief, then you might be a good candidate for bladder Botox®.
OAB occurs when part of the detrusor muscle in your bladder squeezes or contracts more often than normal, or at inappropriate times. While the detrusor typically rests as urine fills the bladder, in patients with OAB the detrusor contracts as the bladder fills with urine. This is where Botox® comes in to help: similar to how Botox® relaxes the muscles in your face to treat wrinkles, it numbs the bladder muscle to slow down overactivity.
The procedure is straightforward and requires little to no preparation or downtime. It’s an outpatient procedure that typically takes about an hour from start to finish.
Though the idea of getting an injection in the bladder might sound painful, most patients cite only slight discomfort during the procedure. While general anesthesia isn’t used, your doctor will apply a local anesthetic to help numb any sensation.
Once the local anesthesia is applied, your doctor will use a tiny tube, or a cystoscopy, to reach your bladder through the urethra. With the help of the cystoscopy, your doctor will inject 50 to 100 units of Botox® directly into your bladder. The exact amount of units used varies from patient to patient depending on the severity of your condition.
Your doctor will then monitor you for about 30 minutes once the procedure is over, but then you can go ahead and resume normal activities.
Some patients might experience slight abdominal discomfort for a couple of days following the procedure. Though rare, other side effects to monitor include: urinary tract infection (UTI), pain or difficulty urinating, and urinary retention.
Patients will begin seeing results a few days after treatment. As with any Botox® injection, the effects last between six and nine months. If the symptoms of an overactive bladder return, this can be a good indicator that it’s time to return for another injection.
For patients who have explored other options, this treatment is often preferable to having to take a daily medication – and it’s definitely better than “bathroom hunting.” If you’re interested in learning more about bladder Botox®, contact us at Austin Urology Institute to schedule a consultation.
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