Botox for Overactive Bladders

Botox® is best known for reducing the look for wrinkles, but it’s becoming more common in treating medical issues – including overactive bladder.  Urologist Steve Bernstein, MD, at Fairview Center for Bladder Control says Botox works by ‘relaxing’ the muscle of the bladder, in many cases reducing the symptoms associated with overactive bladder such as urgency and frequency.

Below, Dr. Bernstein answers 5 common questions.

Q:  Does Botox work better than medication for overactive bladder (OAB)?
Botox often works better than bladder medicine for OAB but it is not considered a ‘first line therapy.’ Patients with OAB should first be considered for behavioral modification. If results are not satisfactory, we may next try medical management. Botox is reserved for patients who do not respond well or cannot tolerate medications for their OAB.

Q: Does the injection hurt?

The injection process is usually described as “mildly painful.” The urologist typically puts some jelly containing local anesthesia into the bladder for a few minutes prior to the injection.  The actual procedure takes only a few minutes and the patients are allowed to drive home and resume their normal daily activities the same day.

Q: How long will Botox injections last?

On average, a Botox treatment lasts about 9 months. There is a fair amount of variation around that time frame. Botox has been safely administered to some patients for many years.

Q: Is this treatment covered by insurance?

Botox injections into the bladder are approved by the FDA for OAB and covered by most insurance plans.

Q. If Botox isn’t for me, what other treatments are available?

If Botox is not a good answer for your particular condition other treatment modalities are available. Some of the methods involve ‘neuromodulation’ or changing the way the nerves to the bladder act and feel. (Watch a video to see how this pace maker for the bladder works.)

Learn more or make an appointment
Learn more about common bladder problems and treatments offered by Fairview Center for Bladder Control here.  You can make an appointment by calling 952-460-4130.If you visit Dr. Bernstein’s biography, you’ll find videos on several bladder topics.

To learn more about common women’s health issues, visit our women’s health page.

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