Incontinence and overactive bladder (OAB) are common conditions that can cause significant discomfort and embarrassment. Fortunately, there is a treatment option that can help: Botox injections. Botox is a type of botulinum toxin, a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It has been used for decades to treat a variety of medical conditions, including incontinence and OAB.
But what are the side effects of using Botox to treat these conditions?The most common side effect of using Botox to treat incontinence or OAB is a urinary tract infection. Other side effects may include fatigue, pain or difficulty urinating, and temporary inability to empty the bladder. If you experience any of these symptoms after receiving Botox injections, contact your doctor right away. There are two other side effects associated with injecting Botox into the bladder. The first is an increase in post-voiding residue, or the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination.
In most cases, this does not cause any symptoms and does not need treatment. However, in some patients (about 6% in clinical trials) it may be a problem and may require temporary use of a catheter to help empty the bladder. The second side effect is an increased risk of urinary tract infection (UTI). A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that women who used Botox injections had a higher number of UTIs compared to women who used anticholinergic pills. However, pills were more likely than Botox to cause dry mouth. In general, you may have side effects during the first week after receiving Botox injections into your bladder.
Most of the time, these side effects are temporary, but sometimes they can last several months or longer. The good news is that most people get relief from symptoms quickly, in just a few days. Other possible side effects include bleeding in the urine or a urinary tract infection, which can occur with or without an elevated residue after urination. People with certain medical conditions (e.g., myasthenia gravis, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease) are at high risk of experiencing harmful effects from the distal effects of botulinum toxin and should be treated with caution. In addition, men at risk or with a history of prostate enlargement should not receive Botox injections due to the risk of urinary retention. If you experience any of these side effects after receiving Botox injections into your bladder, contact your doctor right away. Overall, Botox injections can be an effective treatment for incontinence and OAB.
The results of treatment last about six months, and you may receive additional injections if needed. However, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects before undergoing this procedure.