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ask: Has anyone tried Botox injections to treat bladder spasms or incontinence? If so, what happened?

By Pat Elliott HERWriter Guide
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I've gotten an inquiry from an EmpowHER member, and need your help to assist her. She sought a second opinion from a new urologist who has recommended the use of Botox injections to treat her bladder spasms. Her primary urologist says he will not do this procedure because he doesn't believe there is enough data available. The treatment is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

She would really like to know if any of you have tried this, and what type of experience you had. Did the process help you? If so, for how long? Was it a treatment of last resort? Would you recommend it to others? Why or why not?

I've done some initial research, and learned that while this isn't an FDA-approved treatment it is being used successfully for some patients. According to the Mayo Clinic, Botox is sometimes injected into the muscles of the bladder to treat incontinence because it blocks the release of chemicals which cause muscle spasms. The injection is given under anesthesia and is effective for nine months to a year. Following are links to Mayo Clinic articles about this procedure:

In addition, the following links also provide information on the use of Botox to control painful bladder spasms:

Since this treatment is not approved by the FDA, it's not usually covered by insurance. Some references said the cost was about $300 per injection, and length of time cited for the treatment's effectiveness was generally cited as between six to nine months.

If any of you can offer information that will assist this member it would be greatly appreciated.

Add a Comment16 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Yesterday I had my fourth round of Botox for OAB. (Today I went horseback riding) It has been extremely successful for me every time, without side effects (although yesterday I had some cramping - for the first time - for a couple of hours after, but they disappeared completely) I have it done under general anesthesia because that's what my insurance says, but we're pushing for them to allow it to be done in the office. (another story for another day)
Before this I had tried everything from meds to biofeedback to interstim. This is the first and only treatment that has worked for me and I will be continuing it as long as necessary. My problem was so severe that it was afraid I'd become a recluse - I always had a matching pair of pants ready, wore the heaviest pads, and added a pair of tight athletic shorts to help avoid missing the pad, etc.
I'm happy to answer any questions anyone might have and I would encourage anyone to at least consider this method of control.

March 25, 2015 - 1:30pm
EmpowHER Guest

I agree with the fist two comments, It was a BIG mistake!!!!!!

February 14, 2015 - 7:51pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Why was it unsuccessful for you?

March 14, 2015 - 6:04pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had Botox shots over 2 months ago. I was given 15 shots and they were covered by my insurance company. I now wake up every 2 hers and still have to urinate, BUT I now have to Catherine myself to do it! I was told by my urologist that it might take up to 7 more months before the Botox wears off! I am very frustrated. I feel like I am sitting on a hornets nest. I am beyond sorry to have undertaken this procedure. I am truly happy that some women have gotten relief. I am not one of them. The only positive to got from this is instead of every hour during the nite to urinate I am getting up every 2hrs. My doctor also wants to try the shots again. I say NO WAY! Anyone have this procedure done more than once and has had success, please respond. Thank You in advance.

November 27, 2014 - 2:54pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hello! I'm sorry the procedure was unsuccessful for you. I do have a couple questions, though, if you don't mind. Are you saying you get the urge to urinate about every 2 hours but can't relieve yourself normally? Why don't you just leave the catheter in, instead of inserting it every time you have to go? This is how it was presented to my mom, that it would stay in and need to be changed every week or so.

Thanks for all your help!

March 14, 2015 - 6:10pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had botox injections treat an overactive bladder, it's made no difference to the amount of time I need to urinate. I now have to self catherterise every Two hours including through the night, which is much worse as I have to clean myself each time, and organise all the other paraphernalia associated with self catheterization. I am desperate, as I am unable to have a reasonable nights sleep.

June 10, 2014 - 5:14am
EmpowHER Guest

Hello. i had botox for an oa bladder last june and it has changed my life. The procedure itself was a bit uncomfortable sometimes painful depending on where the bladder was injected. My consultant told me that when the botox started to wear off to ring his secretary and arrange for the procedure to be done again. I went in yesterday to have the botox again. Its not a cure and i might need to have repeat injections for a while yet. However putting up with the discomfort during the procedure is well worth the benifits of the botox. I am from the Uk.

April 5, 2014 - 1:28am
EmpowHER Guest

I am considering getting Botox for my bladder problems. Vesicare and Myrbetriq have not worked for me. I am really scared to try this. If anyone has any recent experiences with Botox I would love to hear about it--good or bad. I live in Canada and have Blue Cross coverage (and pay over $300 per month for this) but have been told this Botox procedure is not covered. I hear it can cost over $1000 and lasts anywhere from 6 months to 18 months. I do not have that kind of money . It seems like I may have to put up with this the rest of my life. I may not even be a candidate for this as I have suffered and still suffer from urinary tract infections. I see my urologist tomorrow.

January 19, 2014 - 4:24pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have neurogenic bladder. Medicine did not work so they first injected 100 units in my bladder. That seemed to help a little but not enough reliefs. So 4 months later followed up with 200 units injected. Now have success. I say go for its

March 7, 2013 - 2:39pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have had botox injections for overactive bladder twice in my life after many years of taking medications that did not work. It truly gave me my life back. I am in the process of looking for a urologist that will again do the injections. The urologist that I previously used moved away. In my experience, the injections last around 18 months. I would do these the rest of my life if I have to. It is better than taking medication that doesn't work or not having any type of life. It is degrading to tell your 7 year old son you can't take him swimming. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. Insurance really needs to pay for this treatment. They pay for the use of botox for migraines why not overactive bladder which is an everyday occurrence?

November 28, 2010 - 6:02pm
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