Another reason to consider using Botox, instead of just injecting it in the face to erase fine lines. New research is showing that Botox could be an option in treating some cases of incontinence.
For example, 37 year-old Deanna Broujos was diagnosed a few years ago with multiple sclerosis, which caused her to develop a spastic bladder. She says the constant urge to go to the bathroom really interfered with her daily routine.
"Just the frustration level of always having been concerned about when I was going to have to go, where was I going to be, how quick could I get there? It just seemed it was on my mind all the time," says Broujos.
An overactive bladder is caused by an unwanted contraction of the muscle that controls the bladder. The theory is that Botox can block the signal that tells this muscle to contract, leaving the surrounding muscles able to function properly. In a few small studies, injecting Botox into the bladder muscle has prevented these contractions, improving bladder function for some patients -- like Deanna.
dr. Michael chancellor/surgeon/univ of pitts. Med center
"I enjoy the freedom and the flexibility that I have now and the comfort that I didn't have before," says Broujas.
"We do present it as an alternative. If you failed everything else, this still has the potential of helping. And fortunately, the side effect has been minimal," says Dr. Michael Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Dr. Michael Chancellor also says that he's used Botox on 50 patients with an overactive bladder. He says it was 80% effective, but that it's important to remember this is only a temporary solution to this embarrassing problem, just like the wrinkles return on the face after Botox, the bladder problems also return in about six months when the Botox wears off.
Some patients need two to three Botox treatments over the course of several months. In the study, 50 patients were injected with Botox into the bladder or urethra. The patients suffered from a variety of conditions, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and stroke. However, in each case, they were suffering from involuntary contractions of the bladder muscle. This either caused incontinence, or an inability to completely empty the bladder.
41 of the 50 patients reported a decrease or absence of incontinence after the injections. The improvement was seen within seven days of the injection and symptoms were alleviated for approximately six months. None of the patients experienced long-term complications from the treatment.
Botox acts by binding to the nerve endings of muscles, blocking the release of the chemical that causes the muscle to contract. When injected into specific muscles, the muscle becomes paralyzed or weakened, but leaves surrounding muscles unaffected, allowing for normal muscle function. Details of the study were published at a meeting of the american urological association.] [internet links: university of pittsburgh medical center | british association of aesthetic plastic surgeons | american urological association | british association of urological surgeons]