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 Comment21 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I am 45 and have interstitial cystitis and OAB and I tried the botox injection on yesterday and today my life has changed for the better in 1 day-- I use to go to the bathroom every 2 hours - last night was the first time that I was able to sleep through the night getting up only 1 time. I am now able to hold my urine 4-5 hours it's amazing and I will have it done again -- life feels normal again.

September 22, 2015 - 4:16pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had the botox injections done 2 yrs ago and am going for a repeat course next week. I was fortunate in not having to self-catheterise but the main reason it has lasted so long was I was on a high dose of amitriptyline for depression and that dried up everything - eyes, mouth and bladder. When I cut it down to 50mg I started with the bladder problems again. I don't know how safe botox is to keep having repeat doses and would probably want to try that new drug myrbetriq to see how it worked (which was the other option my urologist gave me 2 yrs ago). Has anyone tried it?

August 5, 2015 - 9:32am
EmpowHER Guest

I had the procedure done a couple weeks ago under general anesthesia. I'm 31 female, & have had a very, over active bladder my whole life....oral meds & limited fluid intake hasnt helped at all. I started having bladder spasms about 6 months ago & my regular md sent me to a urologist. After waking up I had very bad spasms, but just for 15-20 minutes, then they stopped, & had no pain or discomfort since the procedure. The Only problem is the only thing I can tell a difference in is that I don't wake up at night anymore to go. Other than that, I'm still using the restroom around 15-20 times a day. also, I have chronic cluster/tension headaches, & since having the procedure done, I went from having a headache a day, to not having one since!! ??

August 4, 2015 - 7:33pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had botox injections in my bladder 13 days ago and I have noticed no difference in my frequent urination. The doctor's office told me it may take two weeks to take effect and so far nothing. I had it done before by a different doctor and it worked great-that was 8 months ago.

May 5, 2015 - 6:12pm
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)

Hi there.. I'm so sorry for your bad experience..I've had it done twice now. The first time under General anaesthetic as I had trans vaginal tape procedure along with the botox injections..( I was born with spinabideda ) ..from being almost completely in continent to not .changed my life completely.. after a year the leaking came back again..not as bad but every day...two days ago I had botox again.. thirty injections. I was awake n the whole procedure took about 15 mins. Uncomfortable but not painful. I'm ever hopeful .I've been told it can take up to 5 days to kick in . I do self catheterise. For me it has been life changing

July 3, 2015 - 2:03am
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
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