My Bladder Botox Experience(s)

Do you ever wonder if there is a better way to treat your MS symptoms? I am always looking for the new and improved processes that are out there. I tried another new approach today – my bladder Botox was done in my doctor’s office and not in a hospital outpatient setting.

My MS bladder Botox back story

Let me back up and share that I have a bladder that has its own way of thinking – it is hesitant, urgent and retaining all at the same time. My incontinence and urgency had pretty much made me captive at home on the weekends and more than once had me leaving work to come home for a clothing change. It was embarrassingly bad and I could only hope for something to help. I tried urology drugs, with no luck.

Then my MS neurologist suggested I try bladder Botox, a then-new use for this drug. It was an odd feeling sitting in the urologist’s office surrounded by almost exclusively men in the waiting room waiting for their own exams. I couldn’t relate and had to laugh at the absurdity of this setting, yet I met the dashingly handsome young doctor and scheduled my first bladder Botox treatment. I had no idea what to expect, but when I awoke and realized that they had used general anesthesia to really knock me out, I thought there had to be a better way.

Adjusting my Botox procedures

My own gynecologist of several decades listened to my experience and took the plunge and had her own Botox training so she could treat my bladder locally. This time and the subsequent ones, the procedure was done under light local anesthesia, the twilight sleep kind that allowed me to wake up with no side effects and leave the hospital recovery room on my own power. Admittedly, I would still come home and take a very restful nap of several hours as the remainder of the anesthesia wore off.

Then my gynecologist retired and I was fortunate she referred me to another group that specialized in urogynecology – yes that really is a specialty. The first doctor was great and agreed to do the procedure at our local hospital, because I was not sure I could get into the right position for this procedure due to my MS spasticity in my left leg. This group treated my bladder with Botox under local anesthesia a few more times. Each treatment seems to last about 8 months or so for me.

Bladder issues on the back burner

Then this past year with COVID concerns, I delayed Botox and suffered again with the urgency, frequency, and incontinence. I also developed extreme pain in my left leg which didn’t respond to any MS treatments of therapy or drugs and it was found I had severe osteoarthritis and needed a total hip replacement. That surgery was done just five weeks ago, and my recovery has been swift.

Bladder Botox in the doctor's office

I had already scheduled my next urogynecologist consult before knowing I was getting a new hip and when we met, the doctor suggested we try doing my next Botox treatment in their office. It seems I was their only patient who routinely went to the hospital and I was assured we could try this new way and see how it went and change back to the hospital setting in the future if it was needed.

I’m happy to report I had Botox injected into my bladder today, without the assistance of local anesthesia. In its place, they inserted a small amount of lidocaine to numb the bladder and then did ten separate injections of Botox.  Yes, I could feel the slight sting of the needle, but I was able to breathe through the momentary discomfort and walk out of the procedure room ready to tackle the day. I will admit I missed the nice nap induced by the anesthesia but that’s ok for the tradeoff of being done with this procedure in less than 30 minutes.

Wishing you well,

Laura

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