Tuesday, May 28th, 2002
Botox injections used to reduce facial wrinkles can help treat bladder complaints, researchers have found. The use of the botulism toxin has rapidly become one of the world's most popular forms of cosmetic surgery.
The use of botox injections can offer many of these patients a safe, but temporary, solution to this embarrassing problem
Professor Michael Chancellor, an expert in urology and gynaecology at the University of Pittsburgh, said: "Bladder dysfunction affects a staggering number of people worldwide.
"The use of botox injections can offer many of these patients a safe, but temporary, solution to this embarrassing problem."
In the study, 50 patients were injected with botox into the bladder or urethra. The patients suffered from a variety of conditions, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and stroke.
However, in each case they were suffering from involuntary contractions of the bladder muscle. This either caused incontinence, or an inability to completely empty the bladder.
Forty-one of the 50 patients reported a decrease or absence of incontinence after the injections. The improvement was seen within seven days of the injection and symptoms were alleviated for approximately six months.
None of the patients experienced long-term complications from the treatment.
Botox acts by binding to the nerve endings of muscles, blocking the release of the chemical that causes the muscle to contract.
When injected into specific muscles, the muscle becomes paralyzed or weakened, but leaves surrounding muscles unaffected, allowing for normal muscle function.
Details of the study were published at a meeting of the American Urological
17:00 25 May 02
NewScientist.com news service
Injections of botox can cure urinary incontinence, say US researchers. The toxin, which is more commonly used in cosmetic treatments, works by paralysing one of the muscles that controls the bladder, preventing it emptying involuntarily.
"Bladder dysfunction affects a staggering number of people worldwide," says Michael Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. "The use of botox injections can offer many of these patients a safe, but temporary, solution to this embarrassing problem."
The treatment could help the many millions of patients worldwide with overactive bladders, Chancellor says. Medication is available for this problem, but it can cause side effects such as an extremely dry mouth, which some patients find intolerable.
Botox could also be used to treat the thousands of people who develop so-called sphincter muscle spasticity as a complication of neurological disorders, including multiple sclerosis and spinal injury. These patients are often forced to use catheters.
Chancellor's team injected botox into the bladder or urethra of 50 patients with a variety of bladder dysfunctions. The injections blocked the contraction of the detrusor muscle.
Almost two thirds of the patients reported an absence of incontinence within seven days of the injection. Another 20 per cent reported reduced incontinence. The effects lasted for six months. None of the patients reported any serious side effects or complications.
Some of the patients have been given a botox injection every six months for two years, and continue to report dramatic improvements.
"Botulinum toxin injections are a safe and promising treatment for a variety of lower urinary tract dysfunctions," Chancellor concludes.
He presented his findings at the American Urological Association Centennial
Celebration meeting in Orlando, Florida.
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