'Botox not just for face; it can help treat urinary issue, too'

Botox not just for face; it can help treat urinary issue, too

Urology specialists are hoping that the availability of more novel and less invasive treatments can encourage women to address urinary incontinence.

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Asma Ali Zain

Published: Sat 27 Apr 2019, 9:13 PM

Last updated: Sat 27 Apr 2019, 11:19 PM

Novel treatment options, such as Botox injectables, can help women overcome urinary incontinence, health experts have said.
Though it's a condition that affects a lot of women, up to 50 per cent of those diagnosed with it do not seek help. Urology specialists are hoping that the availability of more novel and less invasive treatments can encourage women to address urinary incontinence.
"You may have considered using fillers and Botox on your face, but many patients are not aware that we can use these injectables to treat urinary incontinence. Patients should not tolerate the condition or let it adversely impact their lifestyle," said Dr Foroozan Khecri, an adult and paediatric urologist at Medcare Hospital Dubai.
Urinary incontinence affects 12.4 per cent of women of all ages worldwide but becomes more prevalent as they age. Incidence can reach between 30 and 50 per cent in some countries, depending on age. Other risk factors include obesity, pregnancy and diabetes.
The type of treatment one is eligible for will depend on which type of incontinence a person is diagnosed with.
Stress incontinence occurs when weakened pelvic floor muscles cause leakage when one laughs, coughs or sneezes. Urge incontinence, however, occurs when bladder muscles weaken or the bladder capacity decreases, causing uncontrolled contractions and an intense urge to urinate. Mixed incontinence, as the name suggests, is a combination of stress and urge incontinence.
After urodynamic testing, a person may be offered bulking agents for stress incontinence or Botox for urge incontinence. Bulking agents such as fillers are injected to increase the central filler volume, thereby increasing the power of the sphincter muscles. This minor procedure is done relatively fast and requires little downtime.
"Around 90 per cent of patients require a one-off treatment and see a significant improvement in their condition, and only 10 per cent of patients require a second top-up treatment. We have seen a low rate of complications and treatment can easily be done under local anaesthetic," said Dr Khecri.
If diagnosed with urge incontinence, Botox can be used to paralyse and relax the overactive bladder muscle, reducing the overall urge and frequency of urination. The quick procedure causes minimal discomfort. Effects of treatment are seen within days and can last between six and 12 months.
Treatment is a must
Driving positive outcomes in urinary incontinence care and improving the well-being of patients are extremely important, given the size and diversity of the population affected. "Urinary incontinence is very common, so it is important that patients are aware of the more novel and less invasive treatment options available," said Dr Khecri. "Many patients do not realise how much the condition is impacting their lives until they treat it."
Dr Tharwat Ramadan, head of the department and senior consultant urology at the University Hospital Sharjah, affirmed that women are more prone to losing bladder control than men.
"The condition is common and affects twice as many women as men. Research indicates that one in 40 women suffers from some type of urinary incontinence. Not all women seek help, although 80 percent of the time, urinary problems can be completely cured," he said. While age is a key factor for this condition, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are some other reasons that cause incontinence. "In addition, diabetes, weak pelvic muscles, certain medicines, urinary tract infections, vascular diseases, obesity, hormonal deficiency, chronic coughing or sneezing and constipation are some common reasons for incontinence," said Dr Ramadan.
He also confirmed that Botox - although known for its use in cosmetic procedures - can certainly help treat incontinence, especially when patients don't improve with conventional medicines. "An injection of botulinum toxin in the bladder muscle works to address the urge urinary incontinence by relaxing the overactive bladder muscles that cause the condition," he explained.
"Botox is used extensively in the UAE to treat severe incontinence problems. Injections of the drug into the bladder wall have successfully treated patients with overactive bladders. Since it is a quick procedure, with no discomfort, a large per cent of patients have experienced positive results when other medications have failed," he added.

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