Urinary incontinence is a very common problem, especially among older people. Urinary incontinence involves a loss of bladder control that ranges from minor leaking to a heavier flow of urine. While incontinence often happens as people age, it can happen at any stage of life.
While there are several causes and numerous treatments for incontinence, Botox is a surprising new procedure that has gained popularity in easing this issue.
Urinary incontinence is most often caused from weak or overactive bladder muscles. Weak muscles are not able to keep the bladder closed, resulting in leaks from laughing, sneezing, or strenuous activity. Again, the urine flow can be mild to heavy.
Over-active bladder muscles cause a person to feel a very strong urge to urinate when there is only a small amount of urine in the bladder. This is often referred to as "overactive bladder" and can also result in accidents.
There are a number of treatments to choose from to ease this problem. Pelvic floor exercises, called Kegels, help strengthen the urethra over time, resulting in less urine leakage. Other simple lifestyle changes include limiting liquids before bed and diet adjustments. If these changes do not improve the condition, there is medication to ease incontinence.
The medications work by either tightening the bladder muscles to prevent leaks or stopping the contractions in the bladder that give a person the strong urge to urinate.
Devices can also be inserted to combat urinary incontinence. A urine seal is a disposable device made of a foam pad that is positioned over the urethra opening. A urethral insert is actually placed inside of the urethra to stop leaking. Both devices are to be removed before urination.
A more permanent solution is a pessary, which is a device that is inserted into the vagina and holds up the bladder. Another inserted device is the bladder neck support, which does exactly what the name suggests. The device elevates the bladder neck to restore the proper position between the bladder and urethra.
When medication and devices are not enough, surgery can be done as a last resort.
There are a number of different procedures to choose from, such as the placement of slings under the bladder or urethra to combat the physical stress of keeping urine in during daily activities.
In extreme cases, a bladder enlargement surgery is done to increase the size of the bladder with a small piece of intestine. However, this procedure is considered major surgery and usually requires patients to use a catheter the rest of their lives. Some of the procedures offer up to a 90% success rate, but involve major abdominal surgery.
Botox has proved to be an effective form of treatment for incontinence. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the use of Botox on patients with neurological issues such as multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries. While the FDA has not yet approved the drug for use in the elderly, Botox has been used effectively on older people and may possibly result in an approval.
Botox was first introduced as facial wrinkle filler to be administered by plastic surgeons only. The use of Botox has since expanded to treat migraines, severe sweating in underarms, and various kinds of muscle stiffness. Botox is now being used to treat incontinence by relaxing the muscles in the bladder. The relaxed bladder is able to hold more urine with fewer contractions that signal a very strong urge to urinate.
The Botox is injected into the bladder and may require general anesthesia. The procedure is done using cystoscopy, which allows doctors to view the bladder while performing the injection. The Botox injection lasts approximately ten months.
To date, the only side effects patients have reported are urinary tract infections and urinary retention, which can be alleviated through self-catheterization.
Two clinical studies of 691 people have concluded the safety and effectiveness of this treatment. Healthy seniors who can tolerate general anesthesia may greatly benefit from this procedure.
To find out more visit Plastic Surgery Guide.
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