Botox injections for pelvic floor disorders at a glance:
- Botox is a drug made from the botulinum toxin. It works by weakening or paralyzing muscle.
- In small doses, this drug can ease the spasms that contribute to symptoms of overactive bladder and urinary incontinence.
- Botox treatments do not cure urinary incontinence and – much like the use of Botox for facial wrinkles – reapplication of the drug is required every eight months to a year.
What is Botox?
Botox is a drug (made from botulinum toxin) that weakens or paralyzes muscle. In small doses, it has a number of medical or cosmetic uses.
This includes the FDA-approved treatment of overactive bladder and urinary incontinence, two conditions involving the loss of bladder control due to weakening pelvic floor muscles. The drug eases the spasms that contribute to symptoms.
Treating Urinary Incontinence & Overactive Bladder with Botox
Botox injections have proven to significantly reduce symptoms by relaxing the muscles of the bladder and increase the bladder’s storage capacity.
The non-invasive procedure involves the injection of bulking agents, like collagen or other materials, into the tissue that surrounds the urethra or directly into the bladder.
In early 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the approved use of Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) to treat adults with overactive bladder who cannot use or do not adequately respond to anticholinergic medications – commonly used to block involuntary movements of the muscles associated with certain conditions such as incontinence.
The drug was previously FDA-approved to treat urinary incontinence due to overactive bladder related to nerve damage from conditions such as multiple sclerosis and spine injury.
Botox treatments do not cure urinary incontinence and – much like the use of Botox for facial wrinkles – reapplication of the drug is required every eight months to a year.
Like all treatments, there are risks and side effects to using Botox. The primary, although rare, side effect is urinary retention, or problems emptying one’s bladder.