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News & Events

Gotta Go? Botox for Incontinence

08/13/2015

Gotta go? Botox can help with that. Botox has a reputation as a wrinkle eraser, but it has important medical applications as well.

Pelvic floor disorder specialists are using it as a noninvasive way to help women with incontinence. Tanaz Ferzandi, MD, Tufts Medical Center Director of the Division of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, explains how Botox is helping many of her patients with overactive bladders regain their quality of life. 

“Overactive bladder is very common, even though most women don’t talk about it. Many women think that incontinence is a normal consequence of aging or childbirth, but that isn’t true.

“Botox works by causing temporary muscle paralysis. When the bladder muscle is overactive, it wants to contract and release urine too often, even if it isn’t full. By injecting Botox into the bladder muscle, we induce a temporary paralysis that helps quiet the feeling of having to go urgently or frequently. Botox allows the bladder to fill to a higher capacity so that women can hold urine for longer periods of time.

“It’s an effective treatment option between lifestyle modifications (like limiting caffeine and alcohol) and the more invasive procedures—and it can be performed in the office. There’s no recovery time; patients go home the same day. Research has shown that Botox treatments are more cost-effective than medication, and they can last up to 10 months.

“It’s really about improving your quality of life. Women with an overactive bladder should talk with their physician, who can help sort out the best treatment options for them.”

To consult with Dr. Ferzandi or her colleague Danielle Patterson, MD, MSc, call 617-636-5890. For more information on treatments for overactive bladder, please visit  www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org/botoxforbladders.