New Treatments for Overactive Bladder
Sacral Nerve Stimulation Therapy
Sacral nerve stimulation is a treatment in which mild electrical impulses are sent to the sacral nerves near the lower back. A device -- implanted in the upper buttocks under the skin -- is used to provide electrical pulses that influence bladder function. The procedure to implant the device does involve surgery, but it is minimally invasive, and reversible.
Botulinum Toxin Injections for OAB
You might be wondering, "Botox? Like movie stars use on their forehead?" Yes, the same substance that dermatologists use to smooth out wrinkles can also be used to relax an overactive bladder.
To treat incontinence, doctors inject botulinum toxin into the bladder muscle. This is done with a needle that is inserted via a long tube called a cystoscope that goes up into the bladder. "The goal is to reduce the over-activity of the bladder muscle so that the patient has better control, but still allow enough muscle contraction to empty the bladder," Rames says. The effects generally last for about 9 months. So far there don't seem to be any major side effects from botulinum toxin, although more research is still needed to determine the benefits and risks of this technique for treating OAB.