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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Bladder Spasms

Treatment of Bladder Spasms continued...

Medicines to relax the bladder. The most commonly prescribed drugs to relax the bladder and prevent spasms are called anticholinergics. They include tolterodine tartrate (Detrol LA), oxybutynin chloride (Ditropan), darifenacin (Enablex), oxybutynin (Oxytrol), trospium chloride (Sanctura XR), and solifenacin (Vesicare). A common side effect is dry mouth.

An antidepressant called imipramine hydrochloride (Tofranil) also helps relax the bladder and reduces bladder spasms.

Medicines called alpha-blockers (such as terazosin or doxazosin) may be given to help the bladder relax and allow the bladder to empty completely.

TENS. Electrical stimulation through the skin (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS) sends mild electrical pulses to the bladder through patches applied to the skin. It's believed the electric signals help you feel better by increasing blood flow and releasing hormones that block pain. TENS is sometimes used to relieve muscle or back pain. In the case of bladder spasms, doctors think the increased blood flow makes the bladder muscle stronger, which reduces spasms and leakage.

Electrical stimulation implant (Inter-Stim). This is placed under the skin to deliver gentle electrical pulses to the bladder at regularly timed intervals. Your doctor may recommend this therapy if you have severe bladder spasms and urge incontinence that does not get better with other treatments.

Pain medicines and sedatives. These may be given to patients who have catheter-related bladder spasms after surgery. But they don't always take away all the discomfort. Some research suggests that a prescription anti-inflammatory medicine called ketorolac may help relieve or prevent catheter- or surgery-related bladder spasms in children.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Acupuncture. Some research has suggested that bladder-specific acupuncture may significantly reduce bladder muscle contractions and the urge to use the bathroom.

Biofeedback. Biofeedback is a method that teaches the mind how to control normally automated body functions. Bladder training is a type of biofeedback. Some doctors believe biofeedback and behavioral changes work better than medicines for treating urge incontinence. A combination of biofeedback and medications may work best.

Botox . In studies, botulinum-A toxin has been shown to reduce nerve-related bladder spasms in children and adults. Botox prevents nerves from releasing chemicals that tell muscles to contract. The Botox is injected directly into the bladder muscle wall.

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