Botox Injections For Urge Incontinence

If you have tried behavioural approaches and medication to address urge incontinence but these have not been successful, we can consider botox injections.

Botox is a well-established treatment for urge incontinence (or the overactive bladder), having been in use within the UK for many years.

Why does it help?

Botox acts by binding to the nerve endings of muscles, blocking the release of the chemical that causes bladder muscles to contract suddenly and involuntarily.

What is involved?

Botox can be administered using a local anaesthetic, although some patients prefer to have a general anaesthetic. Injections are made into the bladder wall, using very small amounts of Botox in approximately 20 different places.

What should I expect?

It will take about seven days before the Botox takes effect. Many patients will find they have a desire to go to the toilet, but without the sudden urgency that they experienced before. The man risk is that the bladder muscles could be over-paralysed by Botox which means the patient has no sensation of their bladder being full and is not able to pass water normally. This is the case for approximately four per cent of patients and they will be taught how to empty their bladder using a self-catheter.

Another small group of patients will be able to pass water, but will not fully empty their bladder. The degree of muscle paralysis will lessen over time, although initially patients will need to use a self-catheter to some extent, in combination with passing urine. There is also a group of patients who experience no effect or change after Botox.

However, for a reported 70 per cent of patients, Botox is effective and beneficial. For patients who are against self-catheterisation, sacral neuromodulation may be a better option.

Will I need to have future Botox injections?

The effects of Botox do wear off and you will need to have repeat injections every nine months.