Treating An Overactive Bladder

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Story Updated: Oct 8, 2012

Botox is a tried and true wrinkle fighter....but how does it do when it's pitted against urinary incontinence?

In this first head-to-head comparison, a team led by researchers at Duke University compared a one-time injection of Botox to the more traditional treatment for urge urinary incontinence daily medication.

241 women completed the six-month study. All averaged five bladder leakage episodes a day when the study started. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either Botox or the pills. At the end of active treatment, women in both groups reported fewer episodes a day.

Complete resolution of symptoms was experienced by 13% of women in the traditional treatment group and 27% of women in the Botox group. Both treatments had side effects. The pills caused dry mouth. While the Botox injections resulted in more catheterizations and urinary tract infections.

Botox is already approved by the FDA for urinary incontinence caused by spinal cord or other neurological injuries... but Botox injections have been gaining popularity as an "off-label" treatment for this overactive bladder condition.

As always, ask your doctor what's right for you.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news doctors are reading health news that matters to you.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com