Medical Monday Botox helps overactive bladder

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 12:34 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Many people are aware of the use of Botox as a way to reduce wrinkles and look younger longer, but it can also benefit people with overactive bladder.

“It’s been being used for overactive bladder symptoms for well over a decade.” Dr. Richard Leidinger, a Urologist at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital, is talking about the use of Botox for people with an overactive bladder.

“The bladder is really kind of a muscle bag. And it’s two basic functions is to store urine obviously to empty at the appropriate place and time. And when it doesn’t do that, then there’s a problem. So, of course what the Botox does is it relaxes that muscle of the bladder in order to allow the person to postpone urination for an appropriate time and place.” he says.

Dr. Leidinger says the procedure is straight forward. He says once they have numbed the area, they pass a scope with a tiny needle into the area around the bladder.

“It’s just a few minutes and we essentially inject small amounts of the Botox in different parts of the bladder. And that’s basically it.” According to Dr. Leidinger.

He says there can be some side effects to the procedure. “The side effects immediately afterwards, usually you can have a slight amount of bleeding. So, you might see a little pink urine. It takes about two weeks for the Botox to kick in. An inability to urinate afterwards, it’d be about 2 weeks. There are also other potential side effects that you read on the package insert about absorption.”

And Dr. Leidinger says the effects of the Botox last longer in the bladder than if you had the shots in your forehead to prevent wrinkles because of the different type of muscle involved. According to Leidinger, the bladder is made of smooth muscle, which holds the Botox better than skeletal muscle, which is found in the face.

“That’s why the folks that get the cosmetic injections have to get it every 8 weeks or 12 weeks, where botox tends to last longer, like 4 to 6 months.” he adds.

Leidinger says this procedure can lead to significant improvements in lifestyle. If you are interested in learning more, you are encouraged to reach out to your primary care provider.