Kay’s story: Botox beats overactive bladder
Monday, April 10, 2017
Kay Madoche spent a lifetime in quiet desperation, scanning every place she entered, needing to know where the nearest toilet was located.
Every building. Every store. Every church. Every restaurant. Every home.
No longer, though.
“I had tried so many things, and it just became intolerable in the last couple of years,” says Madoche, who’s in her 60s.
“When I was around 40, I went and had testing done, but I was told there was nothing that could be done. I tried medication through the years. I tried physical therapy. And just nothing. It continued to get worse, and more embarrassing all the time.
“Even just going shopping and having to pick up Depends and pretending it was for my mother instead of myself,” she says, laughing at herself, then turning serious again. “We go on a girls’ weekend all the time, and I had to pack a whole extra bag just because of it. It was hard.”
But Botox? Yes, Botox.
“You just think Kardashians. This can’t be for me,” Madoche says, laughing at what initially seems an absurd notion of getting treatments more frequently used to smooth skin lines.
“But then as (Stefaniak) explained it, I understood how that would stop the spasms, because that was my problem, the bladder spasms,” says Madoche, who lives near Sturgeon Bay. “They were pretty significant, and that this was the best way to help that.”
Botox has long been used to treat bladder issues in people with neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries. In 2013, its use was expanded to others with overactive bladder, helping to ease the urgency and frequency of urination, and to ease leakage.
“It’s been pretty amazing,” Stefaniak says.
Botox treatment for overactive bladder is an in-office procedure. After checking the urine for infection, the bladder is numbed. Using a scope, Stefaniak makes 15 to 20 small pokes, injecting Botox throughout the bladder. After making sure the patient can urinate, they’re sent home. It takes about an hour.
The Botox injections usually take effect in about a week.
“It just kept getting better every day, and I was astounded,” says Madoche, who was treated in October 2016. “I could get new underwear!”
She’s realistic, though. She knows the Botox treatment isn’t permanent.
“I’m anxious to see the progression, to see how long it’s going to last,” she says.
The Botox treatment has changed Madoche’s life, but one thing remains the same.
“I don’t think I’ll ever, ever not at least be aware (of the nearest toilet’s location). But that’s not my first thought when I enter a building anymore,” she says.
“You forget how huge an impact it makes after you get used to it. I was so relieved to know it wasn’t coming back. That was so huge for me. You want to take charge of it, I think, and I wasn’t able to. I didn’t know it wasn’t my fault.”
Madoche hopes others with overactive bladder – it’s most common in women – will learn that.
“It’s a good thing not to be afraid, and not to be embarrassed and not to talk to their doctors about it,” she says. “Because we come from an age where that’s private and you don’t … you know … but, man, if there’s something to help you, just yell it!”
Dr. Heather M. Stefaniak sees patients in Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay. Call 920-288-8280 or 888-437-9613 in Green Bay or 920-743-6974 in Sturgeon Bay or request an appointment online.
Heather M. Stefaniak, MD, is a board-certified urological surgeon with a subspecialty in robotic surgery. She is the founder of the robotic program at Aurora BayCare Medical Center. Along with practicing at Aurora BayCare Urological Surgeons, Dr. Stefaniak is a clinical assistant professor for the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health. Learn more here.