Botox for Your Bladder

Urination need can be quelled more with Botox injection

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Say bye-bye to the wrinkles, and to the need to visit the toilet all the time.

Botox is not just for the forehead. A newly published study found that the injection could combat other signs of aging, including the urge to go to the bathroom.

"Talk to your doctor about Botox."

The study, led by Linda Brubaker, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, at Loyola University, treated 241 women who couldn't control their bladder between February 2010 and May 2012.

On average, they had five extra urges to go the bathroom daily.

Half the women were given a single 100 U injection of Botox, also called onabotulinum toxin-A, and a daily fake pill.

The other half were given 5 mg of anticholinergic medicine, which is used to help reduce bladder movements throughout the nervous system, and a saline injection.

Neither the participants nor the researchers knew who was receiving which treatment.

Among the group that was given Botox, the urge to go decreased by 3.3 times a day after six months. Those given just the oral medication had a reduced need to go by 3.4 times a day.

In 13 percent of the participants given the pills, the excessive need to go to the bathroom disappeared entirely. But among the Botox group, 27 percent had the feeling disappear.

The quality of life improved the same in both groups without significant differences.

Those given the pills reported dry mouth cases 46 percent of the time compared to 31 percent in the other group.

On the other hand, the Botox group had more urinary tract infections at 28 percent versus 15 percent, and could better empty their bladder.

"These results will help doctors weigh treatment options for women and make recommendations based on individual patient needs,” Dr. Brubaker said.

Catherine Browne, DO, a board-certified Ob/Gyn with the American Board of Osteopathic Obstetricians & Gynecologists and dailyRx Contributing Expert, said that because women have incontinence and bladder symptoms at such a huge rate, it is important to be seeking more and improved treatments.

"The botox injections, while they did not cure a high rate of women, did cure a significant portion, and that's big news," Dr. Browne said.

"Women like options, and it's nice to know here is one more good option that might help a woman with urge incontinence."

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development supported the study.

The authors note they received consulting fees, lecture fees, and royalties from various companies and organizations.

They don't report any other conflicts of interest relevant to their study.

The study was published October 4 in the The New England Journal of Medicine.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 7, 2012
Last Updated:
October 11, 2012