Kate Cornell was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June of 2005. Since then, she has controlled diabetes through dietary changes, exercise, and, more recently, metformin. She shares her experiences and lessons learned here and on her blog, kates-sweet-success.blogspot.com, which was named as one of the top diabetes blogs for 2015 by Healthline.com.
If worries about overactive bladder have added a few wrinkles to your brow, you might have considered Botox treatments to smooth them out. But did you know that Botox can also treat overactive bladder itself?
The many uses of Botox
Botox is a name-brand drug that’s a big moneymaker, with sales around two billion dollars per year. It’s manufactured from something you might think no one would want to put into their body—a kind of nerve poison that certain bacteria make. That poison causes botulism, a dangerous type of food poisoning. But in tiny, targeted doses, the drug temporarily weakens or paralyzes muscles without making you sick. The effects usually last several months. After 25 years of use, Botox has proven to be quite safe.
Originally approved to erase wrinkles, Botox has also won U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for treating a growing and diverse list of other conditions, including crossed eyes, severe underarm sweating, chronic migraine, and overactive bladder.
Botox below the belt
The FDA approved Botox for treating overactive bladder in 2013, two years after its approval as a treatment for urinary incontinence. HealthDay reported that two preliminary studies shed new light on how Botox works and how effective it can be for some bladder control problems.
Researchers say that Botox seems to affect the bladder in two different ways. It blocks nerve messages that cause bladder contractions, and it also seems to prevent feelings of frequency and urgency from reaching the brain.
Both of the studies produced impressive results in persistent cases. In one study, a single infusion of Botox helped some patients who hadn’t responded to other drugs. In the other study, doctors found that major surgery to treat a bladder condition may not have been necessary because the disorder likely would have responded to Botox treatments instead.
Despite mounting evidence of its effectiveness, Botox isn’t a cure-all for everyone with overactive bladder. Could it help you? That’s a conversation worth having with your doctor.