Urinary Incontinence in the Elderly: Botox Approved for Treatment of UI

There are roughly 13 million Americans – whereas 85% are women, who suffer from urinary incontinence. And according to studies, one in five individuals (20%) over the age of forty suffer from this condition urinary incontinence. The condition of UI can take any forms: some experience small amounts of leakage, while others suffer from complete lack of bladder control. The main types of Urinary Incontinence (UI) are as follows:

  • Stress Incontinence: Common to pregnant women or women who gave birth. Elderly patients also suffer from this due to weaker bladder muscles.
  • Urge Incontinence:  This is a symptom of an overactive bladder where people who suffer feel sudden urges to urinate.
  • Overflow Incontinence: Nerve damage can lead to weak bladder muscle contractions, which makes patients unable to properly empty their bladder.
  • Functional Incontinence: Physical and cognitive mobility impedes the ability to reach toilet on time.
  • Mixed Incontinence: Patients who suffer from more than one type of urinary incontinence are labeled as having mixed incontinence.

With every different type of this urinary incontinence, there are a number of causes.

Temporary Urinary Incontinence (causes include):

  • Caffeine
  • Dehydration
  • Alcohol
  • Heart medications, blood pressure drugs and other types of medications

Persistent Urinary Incontinence (causes include):

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Aging (bladder’s capacity to store urine decreases as we age)
  • Hysterectomy
  • Bladder Syndrome (e.g. Interstitial Cystitis)
  • Prostatitis
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Neurological disorders (e.g stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease)

Recently, the FDA approved Botox as a treatment for specific types of urinary incontinence. In August of 2011, the FDA approved the neurotoxin to treat UI related to neurological diorders such as multiple sclerosis and stroke. This happened after two studies that involved 691 patients showed significant decreases in the frequency of incompetence in the Botox group vs. the placebo.

The injection of botox is performed through Cystoscopy, which is a procedure that allows a doctor to look at the inside of the bladder and the urethra using a thin, lighted instrument called a cystoscope camera. For patients who suffer from urinary incontinence, this procedure requires general anesthesia. Some patients who received Botox said that the effect can actually last for about eight to ten months. Read more about “BOTOX Injection Treatments” in Plastic Surgery Guide.

Some patients who developed urinary retention after receiving Botox treatment might need self-catheterization to empty the bladder. Urinary retention and urinary infection are the adverse reactions observed among those who received Botox during the studies. Read “Elderly Urinary Incontinence” from A Place for Mom for more information on that study.

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