Botox can help with an overactive bladder

Botox helps muscles in the bladder just like it does in other spots.
Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 10:11 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Botox has many uses from getting rid of fine lines and wrinkles, to migraines, and excessive sweating. There is another way it’s being used and it’s changed one woman’s life.

Letty Walter, 85, used to be a teacher. With kids, her students talked about having to using the restroom quite a bit. Now, she’s the one personally talking about it.

“It started about two years ago and it was just a shot out of the blue,” Walter said. Walter found herself darting to the bathroom wherever she was day and night. The sudden urge was getting in the way of things she loved like golf and church.

“I was on the lookout for the exit and the bathroom,” Walter said.

Walter had an overactive bladder. The average age of a woman dealing with overactive bladder is 50, but urogynecologists see a wide range starting at 20 and up to the mid-90s. Doctors say women who have had multiple pregnancies or who are over weight have a higher risk. It can also develop with age. Men suffer from it too.

Walter saw a urologist and used medication, but it didn’t seem to help. Then, she heard about Botox.

“I thought it was a joke,” Walter said.

Using Botox to treat an overactive bladder isn’t new but, it’s not talked about a lot according to Dr. Ryan Stewart, urogynecologist with Norton Urogynecology Center.

Stewart said Botox calms the nerves that stimulate your bladder muscles and make you think you need to use the bathroom.

“It’s very commonly used for overactive bladder or urinary incontinence where we use small doses of Botox into the bladder muscles itself,” Stewart said. “It works the same way in the bladder like it does in the forehead.”

The way it works is simple.

“We place a small camera through the tube you urinate out of,” Stewart said. “Through the camera we pass a very small needle. We inject about 20 different spots inside the bladder. Most women tolerate it very well in the office.”

Stewart says most people get symptom relief in a few days and treatment results last about nine months. You can have additional injections.

Walter has done it twice now with no regrets and no regrets talking about something so personal.

Stewart says a benefit to the Botox is you don’t need to take daily medication or require a surgical procedure like with a bladder pacemaker. She says the procedure is covered by insurance in many cases.

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