woman getting botox for incontinence
Incontinence

Botox: Good For More Than Wrinkles

As you know, we spend a lot of time here talking about bladder leaks. We all know how frustrating it can be to deal with spritz and drips. However, if you’ve done enough research, then you know that there is no single solution that solves the problem for everyone. There are many options on the table and some of them are things you’d probably never ever expect…like Botox. Yep, you read it right. The very solution that people use to smooth out fine lines and prevent wrinkles is also a possible solution for those dealing with bladder leakage.

How Does Botox Work For Bladder Leaks?

You may be skeptical about the idea of using a product traditionally associated with cosmetic procedures for medical purposes. However, women already use Botox for far more than the face. Many women already get Botox injections in their armpits to prevent excessive sweating and some use it to combat severe migraines. So why not look into it as a solution for the bladder too?

Essentially, Botox prevents unnecessary muscle contractions. This is why it’s used to prevent wrinkles caused by the overuse of certain facial muscles. This is also why it can be used to prevent incontinence.

But Is It Successful?

When looking at the success of Botox injections in terms of treating bladder leaks, it might be a good idea to compare it to other treatment options. Researchers compared the effects of Botox injections in treating bladder leakage to the effects of InterStim, an electrical implant that is used, similarly, to prevent the involuntary muscle contractions that cause leaks.

They found that the Botox injections cut down the number of daily leak episodes in women by four on average, compared to InterStim (also known as a bladder pacemaker), which cut them down by three. Not only does this indicate that Botox injections are potentially more effective; they’re also somewhat less invasive for patients that do not want to commit to the permanence of an implant. Plus, while you’re getting used to Botox injections, you can easily use pads and underwear designed for bladder leaks as back up protection.

The fact is that no matter what, it’s okay if you feel some anxiety over moving forward with either procedure. If for some reason you don’t respond well to Botox you can just stop getting the injections. An implant, on the other hand, would need to be removed. This is definitely something to keep in mind if you’re comparing the procedures.

Are There Negative Side Effects?

Of course, we don’t want to leave out any of the details regarding Botox as a treatment for bladder leaks. You should definitely weigh all of the pros and cons.

One drawback of Botox injections is that they can make it more likely for patients to need a catheter in order to urinate. Yep, that’s right. You could end up going from sporadic spritz and drips to having difficulty fully emptying your bladder (remember, Botox stops muscles from contracting). However, if bladder leaks trouble you enough to consider Botox, it could be an OK trade off. Due to the retention of urine, you may also find yourself more prone to urinary tract infections.

Who Is A Good Candidate For Botox Injections As Treatment For Incontinence?

This question is obviously a great one to run by your doctor. But if you’re a post-menopausal woman struggling with leaks, these injections might be great options for you. Keep in mind that Botox injections typically need to be re-done every six months. All in all, just like with an implant like a bladder pacemaker, you’ll want to make sure that you’re ready to try a slightly more invasive treatment.

To Get Botox or Not to Get Botox?

Ultimately, only you and your doctor can know if this is right for you. But having the ability to consider something like Botox injections is offering new hope for those of us suffering from bladder leakage. To think that you could potentially take care of your bladder problems as easily as you would smooth out a few wrinkles. 

Is an unruly bladder one of the things that’s stopping you from living your best life? Lily Bird can help. Lily Bird has you covered with pads and underwear delivered right to your door. Start your trial today.

By Jessica Thomas, MPH