Botulinum toxin, better known under it’s commercial name Botox, is a bacterium produced protein used for a variety of applications. Botox is most commonly associated with cosmetic use, specifically as an antiaging method. When injected into someone’s face, Botox causes the muscles to relax, reducing wrinkles and smoothing skin.
However, this is far from the only application for this powerful protein. Botox is used to treat excess sweating, migraines, muscle spasms, chronic pain, cerebral palsy, and more.
For those who struggle to control their bladder, Botox can help with that as well.
How Botox Treats Incontinence
Incontinence is a general term used when someone loses full control over their urinary habits. There are multiple forms of incontinence. Some deal with leakage even after they go to the bathroom. Others unintentionally release urine when performing a physical activity.
The best form of treatment for incontinence can depend on the type of incontinence that is being experienced.
For those with overactive bladders and urge incontinence, Botox has been shown to be highly effective. Urge incontinence stems from muscles around the bladder contracting when they shouldn’t. This can cause a sudden need to urinate and may result in urine leaking out before a bathroom can be reached.
The exact causes can vary. Sometimes, urge incontinence stems from an infection, inflammation, or prostate enlargement in men. In more serious cases, it can be caused by neurological conditions including MS, nervous system damage, spinal cord trauma, and more.
Botox helps combat urge incontinence by decreasing the spasms that cause your bladder to overact. As a toxin, Botox can block the ability of certain nerves to communicate with the bladder or surrounding muscles. This prevents involuntary contractions and allows your bladder to function normally.
With Botox treatment, patients can start experiencing results in less than a week. The treatment lasts approximately 6 months, at which point, another injection is needed.
Are There Risks?
You might be surprised to learn that botulinum toxin is considered to be the most poisonous substance in the world. Don’t let that scare you, though. It is this potency that makes it so effective at treating various conditions in the body. In the hands of a professional, Botox is completely safe.
A small number of patients may experience problems emptying their bladder completely. This is rare, and should it happen, there are steps that can be taken to treat it.
Is Botox Treatment Right for Me?
The only way to learn your options and treat your incontinence is to see a professional. Urinary incontinence is common, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal or something you should have to live with. There are treatment options available for every type of incontinence.
Though Botox is low risk and highly effective, it likely won’t be the first method of treatment used. It’s best to start with lifestyle adjustments, followed by medication use. If these don’t work, your urologist may try Botox.
For a urologist in Dayton, Ohio or the surrounding Miami Valley area, contact Urology Specialists of Ohio today!