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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

Botox Approved to Treat Leaky Bladder

Urinary Incontinence From MS, Spine Injuries Helped by Injections of Botox
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Aug. 24, 2011 -- Botox can now be used to treat a leaky bladder due to conditions such as multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, the FDA says.

Nerve damage from these and other conditions can make it difficult for patients to retain urine. Patients often need medications to relax the bladder, as well as catheters to empty the bladder.

Botox treatment involves injection of the drug into the bladder during cystoscopy. Cystoscopy is a medical procedure that lets a doctor see the inside the bladder. It sometimes requires general anesthesia.

The Botox treatment for leaky bladder lasts nine months. In two clinical trials that enrolled nearly 700 patients, Botox decreased the  episodes of urinary leakage per week.

Botox helps urinary incontinence by relaxing the bladder, thus allowing it to store more urine.

The most common side effects of the Botox treatment were urinary tract infections and inability to urinate. Patients who retain urine may have to insert a catheter in order to empty their bladders.

In addition to its cosmetic uses, Botox is FDA approved for treating chronic migraines, various kinds of muscle stiffness and contraction, severe underarm sweating, eyelid twitching, and improper alignment of the eyes.

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