If you’ve ever gone for a jog and felt a trickle down below, or coughed and caught yourself leaking urine, you aren’t alone. The involuntary loss of urine is called urinary incontinence and more than 25 million Americans experience it every day. Urinary incontinence can be caused by several factors – from a urinary tract infection to overactive bladder to pregnancy and childbirth. The good news is urinary incontinence is a treatable medical condition, with one of the most effective treatments being Botox.
When most people think of Botox, they usually think of injections to the face to minimize wrinkles. However, Botox bladder injections are a routine treatment for urinary incontinence.
Here is a guide to what you should know about Botox injections in the bladder.
Who can get Botox bladder injections?
Botox for urinary incontinence is often recommended when conservative treatments fail to stop involuntary urine leakage or overactive bladder. Botox helps block the nerve signals in the bladder that prompt the release of urine and prevent involuntary urine leakage.
Where do they inject Botox for bladder control?
Botox is injected directly into the bladder muscle. Your doctor will guide a thin tube, called a cystoscope, up your urethra and into your bladder. Your doctor can see inside your bladder with the cystoscope and deliver the Botox injections through it.
Do you need anesthesia for bladder Botox injections?
Botox bladder injections are performed as an outpatient procedure. You do not need general anesthesia for Botox injections in the bladder, but your doctor will administer a local anesthetic to temporarily numb your bladder so you will not feel the injections, similar to how a dentist numbs your mouth before filling a cavity. The local anesthetic generally wears off within one hour of completing the injections. Because Botox bladder injections do not require general anesthesia, you can drive yourself to and from your treatment.
How long does it take to get Botox in the bladder?
The entire process of getting Botox in the bladder takes approximately one hour and includes:
- 20 minutes of prep time
- 10 minutes to inject the Botox
- 30 minutes for evaluation after the injection
What to expect after a Botox injection in the bladder?
After your doctor finishes administering Botox in your bladder, they will monitor you in the office for about 30 minutes. You will be asked to empty your bladder before leaving the office and your doctor will check that no extra urine is retained when you use the restroom. Your doctor may prescribe 1-3 days of antibiotic pills to make sure you don’t get an infection.
Botox in the bladder: Recovery time
You can leave the office about 30 minutes after receiving Botox in your bladder. You can typically return to work and other usual activities right after treatment.
Bladder Botox: Side effects
Some people experience mild pelvic or abdominal discomfort after receiving Botox in the bladder. This has been described as a sensation like period cramps. This discomfort typically doesn’t last more than a couple days. Other potential side effects from Botox injections in the bladder include:
- Urinary tract infection
- Pain while urinating
- Difficulty urinating
- Inability to empty your bladder
These side effects are not common and are temporary. If you are experiencing any issues with urination after Botox injections in the bladder you should contact your doctor.
How long does Botox last in the bladder?
Most patients see a reduction in involuntary urine leakage within two weeks of receiving Botox in the bladder and full effects by 12 weeks. Botox in the bladder usually lasts for six months, at which time you can schedule an appointment to have the procedure performed again.
Is Botox covered by my insurance?
Most major medical insurance providers, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover the cost of medical Botox treatments. You can contact your insurance provider and ask if they cover Botox injections in the bladder.
How do I find a doctor near me who performs Botox injections in the bladder?
When searching for a doctor near you who performs Botox injections in the bladder, make sure the doctor is board-certified and specializes in the area of concern. A urogynecologist will have dedicated training and experience in the bladder, overactive bladder, and urinary incontinence.
If you are experiencing involuntary urine leakage you do not need to live with the inconvenience and interruptions in your life. Urinary incontinence is treatable. Don’t suffer with the unpleasant symptoms of urinary incontinence any longer. Schedule an appointment with a doctor today.