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Botox Effectively Treats Female Incontinence

March 13, 2012

Injecting Botox directly into the wall of the bladder was found to be very effective at treating women who suffer from a common form of urinary incontinence, claims a new research.

Scientists at Leicester University in the United Kingdom say that urinary incontinence is very common and reported to affect almost 13 per cent of women aged 40 and over, and 5 per cent of men. And now injecting small quantities of botulinum toxin A (best known for smoothing out facial wrinkles), into the wall of the bladder proved an effective treatment in trials.

For the purposes of the study the investigators invited 240 women and divided them into two groups, with 122 women receiving Botox injections and 118 undergoing a treatment with placebo. Significant improvements were noted in a range of symptoms, including wetting oneself, experiencing an urge to go to the bathroom, and how often the women 'leaked' urine. However, some of the ladies reported having side-effects, such as a need to use a catheter in order to urinate because of paralysis in the bladder muscle.

On average, the number of times the women suffered overactive bladder syndrome fell from 6 times a day to less than once. The number of times the participants felt an urge to rush to the bathroom also fell, from 8 times a day to just three. Approximately four in every ten women who underwent treatment with Botox did not experience any problems with incontinence for six weeks after receiving injections and a third were still continent 6 months later. The effects of the toxin started to wear off after about six months.

According to Dr. Douglas Tincello, a senior lecturer from the University of Leicester and honorary consultant gynecologist at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, the results of their trial are very exciting and encouraging. He noted that the effects of Botox were so much better than those of the drugs being used to treat the condition. All patients have been happy with how well it works, even those who had to use a catheter.

Incontinence, or overactive bladder, affects up to 20 per cent of people, mainly women, owing in part to the effects of childbirth. The condition is usually caused by the inappropriate contraction of the bladder muscle and it being overactive, rather than only when it is necessary or convenient to urinate. Current treatments of incontinence include pelvic floor muscle exercises, behavioral therapy and medication that can cause side-effects, such as a dry mouth, constipation and problems with vision.

The study, which is the largest of its kind into Botox, was carried out between 2006 and 2009 at eight major urogynecology centers across UK and was funded by the Moulton Charitable Trust, Wellbeing of Women and the Rosetrees Trust. It is published in the European Urology journal.

Tags: Health