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Not just for wrinkles: Urologists using Botox to treat overactive bladder, urinary incontinence

by Arkansas Urology on Tuesday, May 19, 2015


(May 19, 2015) More than two years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the approved use of Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) to treat adults with overactive bladder, and the drug’s use for urinary incontinence was approved by the FDA almost five years ago.

That’s right. Botox isn’t only used to rid the face of wrinkles. Botox can also be injected into the bladder to relax it, providing an increase in its storage capacity and a decrease in urinary incontinence. We have seen the positive effects of the proper use of Botox to improve overactive bladder symptoms and urinary incontinence.

Overactive bladder is a type of bladder-control problem that affects more than 33 million Americans of all ages. It occurs when the bladder contracts more often than necessary, even when the bladder is not full.

Symptoms of an overactive bladder can include an urgent, uncontrollable need to urinate; an involuntary loss of urine; frequent urination (typically eight more times in a 24-hour period); and waking up to urinate at night two or more times.

Though overactive bladder is a common medical condition, many patients may feel ashamed or embarrassed to discuss it. However, it is important to communicate with your doctor about your overactive bladder so it can be properly treated.

Urinary incontinence, or uncontrolled urine loss, is more common than most people think. In fact, more than 17 million Americans have urinary incontinence. But urinary incontinence is not a normal process of aging and can occur in patients of all ages.

Under normal conditions, the bladder stores urine until it is voluntarily released. This involves a complex interaction between the brain, spinal cord and bladder. Anything that interferes with this interaction can make a person incontinent.

Incontinence is not life threatening, but it does have negative social implications. You may lose your self-esteem and experience depression, anxiety and feelings of helplessness. Your fear of urine loss may become an obsession. You may lose your sense of sexuality. You may distance yourself from friends and loved ones or limit social interaction outside the home.

The good news is that incontinence can typically be corrected or improved to the point that it no longer interferes with daily activities.

Clinical studies show that Botox relieves symptoms. Randomized, controlled trials show complete continence in patients treated with Botox in as many as 55 percent of cases. The medicine is an effective treatment for overactive bladder and results in a significant improvement in the quality of life of patients.


Dr. Edwin Diaz
is certifi
ed by the American Board of Urology and is a member of the American Urological Association, American Association of Clinical Urologists, Endourological Society, Arkansas Medical Society, Arkansas Urologic Society and Pulaski County Medical Society. He practices medicine at Arkansas Urology in North Little Rock.

A Little Rock native and Arkansas Baptist graduate, Dr. Taylor Moore completed his residency at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, is a member of the American Urologic Association and the American Medical Association, and recently presented an abstract for the American Urologic Associations South Central Section. He practices medicine at Arkansas Urology clinics in Little Rock and Heber Springs.