Crow’s feet, laugh lines, the elevens, and bladders. Wait, what? Bladders!?
Although Botox injections are primarily used cosmetically to treat wrinkles and fine lines, funny enough, once you understand how Botox works, it makes complete sense that it would be prescribed as a treatment for overactive bladders. So, let’s rewind and start at the beginning.
The basic premise behind neuromodulators (Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport) is that they freeze the muscles and calm the nerves at the injection site. This in turn, prevents you from certain facial movements that will imprint wrinkles or fine lines in that area. Most commonly, the neurotoxin is injected between the brows (the elevens), at the sides of the mouth (laugh lines), around the eyes (crow’s feet), and in the forehead. However, Botox is not only used for anti-aging purposes. There are highly valuable therapeutic effects to neuromodulators when applied for other medical purposes. There are certain eye disorders (uncontrollable blinking), movements disorders (stiffness or spasms) that can be treated with Botox, as well as migraines and excessive sweating. It can also be prescribed to patients who suffer from Overactive Bladder as a second-line of treatment.
What is Overactive Bladder? Well, Overactive Bladder (OAB) is a condition in which the bladder can no longer hold urine normally (normal here is defined on a relative basis). Because the bladder is not working at full function, people who suffer from OAB can develop symptoms such as urge incontinence (leaking or loss of bladder control).
Patients who suffer from urge incontinence can try medications such as anticholinergics (a drug blocking the chemical that signals your brain and triggers abnormal bladder contractions), or a plethora of different treatments such as Vaginal Laser Therapy, the O-Shot Therapy, Pelvic Floor Therapy, or, drumroll please… Bladder Botox Injections. However, when it comes to Bladder Botox, it will typically only be recommended if medications and/or other treatments were not found to be effective.
So, why Botox for a bladder? OAB can be caused by a malfunction in the nerve signal between the bladder and brain. Your brain is telling your bladder that you gotta go even if your bladder isn’t full. Another cause could be that the bladder muscles are too active. Your bladder muscles contract to pass urine before your bladder is full and then you feel the sudden urgency to pee… or leak.
That’s where Botox comes into play. Much like it would for wrinkles and fine lines, Botox relaxes the bladder muscles and calms the nerves so that you won’t feel the urgent need to urinate. With a few treatments of Botox, we can effectively decrease the involuntary contractions and reduce the “overactive” part of the condition. This reduces leaks and accidents and provides relief for people who are constantly running to the bathroom for fear of embarrassment.
From the perfect pout to improving bladder control, it’s unassuming to think that Botox has as broad a range that it does in both the cosmetic and medical communities. However, if you break down the essential function of what Botox does, the possibilities are endless.