Gotta Go, Gotta Go … Gotta get Botox for my overactive bladder?!
by Dr. Janet Harris-Hicks Special to the Daily Journal
In the United States, 1 in 11 adult suffers with overactive bladder (OAB). This debilitating and often embarrassing illness is ranked among the top 10 chronic illness and effects 33 million men and women within the United States. OAB is the result of uncontrolled bladder contractions. These bladder contractions cause sudden, strong urges to use the restroom. The episodes of urgency occur at alarming rates of frequency per day and night. Often times, persons will loose urine uncontrollably before they successfully reach the restroom. Unwanted urine loss as a result of uncontrolled bladder contractions is referred to as urge urinary incontinence.
On Jan. 18, 2013, the FDA approved the use of Botox injections within the bladder to treat OAB. For many years prior, Botox has been FDA approved and used to treat similar symptoms in patients whose bladder over activity resulted from other neurologic conditions such as spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis. Now with FDA approval, this extremely effective treatment is an option for all patients that suffer with overactive bladder.
Final FDA approval of bladder Botox came after the results of two clinical trials involving more than 1,100 patients with symptoms of OAB. Patients within the clinical studies treated with bladder Botox had 50 percent less episodes of urinary urgency and urge incontinence per day as compared to patients receiving placebo.
Many persons with OAB currently use oral medications, called anti-cholinergics, to combat their bladder over activity and urge incontinence. These medications work by relaxing the muscles of the bladder. Unfortunately, anti-cholinergic medications also affect other muscles within the body resulting in undesired side effects. These side effects include severe dry mouth and constipation. Research has shown that 70 percent of patients discontinue their oral anti-cholinergic medications within the first year of prescription because of these unwanted side effects.
With bladder Botox injections, side effects common to anti-cholinergic medications are not present. Botox works directly on the muscle of the bladder of which it was injected rendering relaxation of the muscle and decreased uncontrolled bladder contractions, decreased urgency of urination, and decreased urge incontinence.
To administer bladder Botox, the bladder is first filled with a numbing solution. With the use of a cystoscope, Botox is injected into the bladder muscle. The injection of Botox within the muscle of the bladder takes approximately 15 minutes to perform. Once Botox has been injected into the muscle of the bladder, the medication acts to halt the uncontrolled bladder contractions leading to OAB and urge incontinence. Positive results of decreased OAB occur by 2 weeks of treatment with many patients experiencing relief even sooner. The injections are repeated when symptoms of overactive bladder return. Botox reduction in bladder over activity is expedient as well as long acting. The improvement in OAB lasts an average of 6 months. Therefore, no further treatment of OAB is needed until the patient’s next bladder Botox injection 6 months after the initial treatment.
Since FDA approval, this medical procedure is covered by most commercial insurances, Medicare, and Medicaid making bladder Botox not only an excellent treatment choice for overactive bladder and urge incontinence, but an affordable treatment for all patients as well.
If you are interested in more information regarding bladder Botox, OAB, and/or urge urinary incontinence please contact Dr. Janet Harris-Hicks and her staff at Sandhills Gynecology at 910 205 8909. Office Hours are Monday - Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays 8 a.m. to noon.
— Dr. Harris-Hicks is a trained bladder Botox doctor currently performing this procedure at her office. She also serves as a physician consult upon the National Allergan Urogynecology Advisory Board. Dr. Harris-Hicks is one of only 14 elite physicians chosen across the country to serve on this prestigious board.
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