Botox isn’t just a product for fine lines and wrinkles– and scientists are discovering innovative, simple and effective uses for the agent in the medical field. Earlier this year the FDA made a groundbreaking decision to approve Botox treatment for women with overactive bladder. Urinary incontinence affects more than 33 million men and women throughout the United States, and is characterized by reduced bladder capacity, leakage and the frequent need to urinate. When injected in to the walls of the bladder Botox allows the bladder to gently expand increasing its capacity, reducing the patients trips to the bathroom and increasing patient comfort.
What Is Botox?
Botox, a protein and bacteria byproduct, has already found success in the non-cosmetic field showing promising results for sufferers of sweaty underarms, uncontrollable blinking and migraine headaches. According to the Director of the FDA’s Reproductive and Urologic Products Hylton Joffe M.D., â€œClinical studies have demonstrated Botoxâ€™s ability to significantly reduce the frequency of urinary incontinence.â€ 1,105 participants were chosen to participate in the initial study to evaluate Botox’s effectiveness and safety and were given either 20 injections of 5 units of Botox or a placebo over a 12 week period. The trial was promising, with the group receiving Botox treatment experiencing an improvement of needing to urinate 1.6-1.9 times less than the control group.
The announcement comes as a relief to the POP community, which is still reeling from the failures of previously recommended transvaginal mesh implants that caused a slew of complications, including: loss of copulation, mesh erosion, bleeding and damage to the surrounding organs. According to this website the largest settlement to date for transvaginal mesh lawsuit totalled more than $5 million for a single patient. The FDA’s grim announcement last year that even multiple surgeries may not reverse the extensive damage caused by mesh has left masses of women with failed vaginal mesh at a loss for aggressive treatment options. Scientists are hopeful about Botox’s ability to be an inexpensive and non permanent alternative to these surgical procedures.
Things to keep in mind if you’re considering Botox for your urinary incontinence:
- Its suggested to have a 12 week breakÂ in betweenÂ treatmentsÂ
- Negative side effects included: the inability to completely void, frequent UTIs and the possibility of systemic weakness
- Relief begins in the first week of treatment, but can take up to two weeks to feel the full effects