There are a range of methods that can be used to treat an overactive bladder, including both medical therapy and lifestyle changes that can be implemented.
We recently spoke with Miss Nadia Rahman, a renowned consultant gynaecologist, to discuss overactive bladder and how Botox is often effective for treating this condition. Find out how you can tell if you have an overactive bladder and when Botox via an intravesical injection could be helpful.
How common is an overactive bladder?
Typically, overactive bladder symptoms are quite common in post-menopausal women; approximately 1 in 4-5 women experience this. Having said that, it is not uncommon in the under 55yrs age group. Infrequently some young women under 25yrs may experience these symptoms too.
How can you tell when you have an overactive bladder?
A woman may have an accident as she is attempting to get to the toilet, when walking, making any small movement or listening to/seeing running water taps.
How should an overactive bladder be treated?
The first steps to manage an overactive bladder is bladder retraining where the bladder is essentially taught to 'stretch' itself. Altering fluid intake and cutting down on bladder irritants compliments the above. Next step is a trial of medications. If these fail, transurethral Botox injections is the next step.
Botox acts by temporarily paralyzing the bladder muscle hence calming down a very irritable bladder and improving urgency. The success rate is about 60 to 70%.
What are the side effects of Botox injections in the bladder?
The downside is the risk of self-catheterization (up to 10%). If Botox calms down the muscles too much you may find it difficult to pass urine and would then have to use a catheter whilst your bladder recovers over time. This is something that you can be easily taught. Other minor risks are infection and bleeding.
When might intravesical Botox be needed?
If you continue to be troubled by severe urgency, urinary leaks without warning, on movement despite first-line measures / oral treatment and bladder muscle overactivity is proven on a urodynamics test, Botox may be a suitable option for you.
How long does it take for Botox injections in the bladder to work?
It can take about a week. A follow up would be arranged 2 weeks after the injection.
How often do injections need to be done?
Repeat Botox is often required as effects last for 8 months - 18 months on average.
During the pandemic, I am happy to see patients face-to-face.
Details about Botox treatment are available on the British Society of Urogynaecology website. For leaflets, information, or to have any questions answered, please feel free to contact my secretary.
If you will need treatment for an overactive bladder of if you are interested in intravesical Botox, we recommend getting in touch with Miss Nadia Rahman , a highly experienced urogynaecologist. Click here to visit her Top Doctors profile today.