Ascension Via Christi urogynecologist, Botox offers new hope to women with overactive bladders | Ascension

Ascension Via Christi urogynecologist, Botox offers new hope to women with overactive bladders

Botulinum toxin, best known by its trade name Botox, has long been used to prevent facial wrinkles. But for Wichitan Carrie Hendrickson, it was just what the doctor ordered in treating embarrassing "tinkles" caused by urinary incontinence.

Carrie, a 58-year-old financial industry compliance officer, had struggled with urinary continence for the past seven years.

"I had tried everything that I could without surgical intervention: Prescription medication, tibial nerve stimulation and exercise," says Carrie. "But nothing helped for any period of time."

The final straw came when a security guard at a Kansas City Chiefs game had to search her purse.

"I said 'I hope this is even more embarrassing for you than it is for me,'" Carrie told him as he rummaged through the pads in her purse, which under National Football League rules, now must be clear making the contents visible to everyone.

Soon after, at the recommendation of her family physician, she scheduled an appointment with urogynecologist Simon Patton, MD, of Ascension Medical Group Via Christi, who specializes in female pelvic medicine, treating all types of urinary incontinence and conditions such as uterine and bladder prolapse.

"There are so many women like Carrie who suffer in silence for years because they are too embarrassed to seek the help they need or don't know about the treatments available to them," says Dr. Patton.

Here's how treatment with Botox works.

Botox is injected into the bladder muscle, helping relax the overactive bladder muscles causing the condition. Most women see improvement within about a week, although the full effect can take up to two weeks.

It is approximately a five-minute procedure performed either under local or general anesthesia.

"It's not a permanent fix, but its prolonged effect in the bladder can last up to six to eight months, which is three to four times longer than what is typical for other muscles," says Dr. Patton.

The procedure is covered by Medicare and most private insurers.

Dr. Patton says that it's typically used as a "third line of defense" for women who suffer from age-related overactive bladder. The first is to modify behaviors that may be irritating the bladder. The second is medication therapy, although that can result in side effects and may not be an option for some women.

Other third line of defense options include sacral neuromodulation, which essentially is a pacemaker for the bladder, and tibial nerve stimulation, which is done in a dozen 30-minute sessions.

If you are among the one in three women with a bladder issue, the first step is to discuss it with your doctor.

The next step is to determine what type or types of urinary incontinence you are experiencing and determine what treatment options may help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

"If you're talking about it with girlfriends, perhaps you should be discussing it with your doctor," says Lauren Muzingo-Boring, RN, who works with Dr. Patton.

For Carrie, the Botox procedure has been "truly life changing."

"It is so simple and takes about 30 minutes from start to finish and then you're good for the next six months," she says. "Plus, Dr. Patton and his team are second-to-none in terms of their professionalism and compassion. They literally will do anything for you. They're the best.

"Go, Chiefs!"

To learn more about Women's Care at Ascension Via Christi visit