When you think about Botox, you probably think about wrinkle control, but we think about bladder control.

Here at Comprehensive Urology in Los Angeles, California, our team of expert urologists uses Botox to treat urinary incontinence for both women and men. Here’s what you need to know.

How can a wrinkle treatment solve my bladder issues?

You know Botox as the gold standard for ridding your face of wrinkles and smoothing out the deep lines caused by smiling and frowning. But if you think that’s it, you don’t really know Botox.

Derived from the same toxin that causes botulism (food poisoning), Botox was first used as a way to solve eye spasms. When researchers realized its ability to relax twitching muscles, they began to explore other applications.

Today, this versatile neurotoxin plays a major role in health care. Botox is a successful treatment for migraines, eye spasms, and excessive sweating.

Understanding urinary incontinence

At first glance, urinary incontinence is simply urine leakage. But there’s more to urinary incontinence than meets the eye. To start, there are four types of the condition:

  1. Urge incontinence: An intense sudden urge followed by involuntary leakage
  2. Stress incontinence: Leakage when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or lift something heavy
  3. Overflow incontinence: When your bladder won’t empty completely, so it leaks
  4. Mixed incontinence: A combo of one or more types

Urinary incontinence is extremely common and affects up to 70% of people throughout the world.

What causes urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence isn’t a medical condition, but rather a symptom of something else. It may be a temporary side effect of constipation or a urinary tract infection. It may even be a result of eating or drinking things that act as diuretics.

During pregnancy, many women experience stress incontinence when the baby’s head presses on their bladder. These types of incontinence go away as soon as you clear up the infection, change your diet, or the baby is born.

Sometimes urinary incontinence stems from changes in your body that come with age or other physical conditions. For instance, childbirth can weaken the muscles that control your bladder, and aging can decrease your bladder’s capacity and cause involuntary contraction.

Urinary incontinence may also be the sign of an underlying condition, such as an obstruction in the urinary tract, an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer, or a neurological disorder.

Botox for bladder control

Botox smooths facial lines because it relaxes the muscles underneath that cause the creases. In the same way, Botox can relax the muscles in your bladder and resolve urge incontinence and overactive bladder.

As a neuromodulator, Botox also affects your nerves and effectively blocks the communication they send as a way to control your bladder muscles. If you have urge incontinence and experience sudden leakage with no warning, Botox can alleviate the problem.

One of our experienced urologists numbs your bladder to keep you comfortable and injects the Botox directly into your bladder muscle to stop spasticity. It may take a week or two before you notice the results, but once you do the effects should last for about six months, at which point you can have another injection.

Other Treatments for Urinary Incontinence

Botox is not the first course of treatment for urinary incontinence, nor is it the last. We always start with the most conservative treatment first, which may include simple lifestyle changes and medications. We get to know you, your overall health history, and the reason you’re experiencing incontinence before moving forward with treatment.

If conservative treatments don’t improve your symptoms, Botox can help if you have urge incontinence or overactive bladder.

Depending on your unique symptoms and condition, our team may recommend the InterStim system, a device that helps regulate your bladder by stimulating your sacral nerve. Or we may suggest percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS), where we insert a needle under the skin in your ankle. This stimulates the tibial nerve which in turn, affects your sacral nerve and your bladder.

With so many treatment options, there’s no need to live with urinary incontinence. To find out if Botox or another treatment can help you control your bladder, call us at 424-260-0856 or request an appointment online today.

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