Botox may be known primarily for getting rid of wrinkles, but researchers in the US and Taiwan have found the toxin to also be very effective at treating the condition known as enlarged prostate. They report that injecting Botox into the prostate gland of men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) eased the symptoms and improved the patient's quality of life for up to a year after the procedure.
BPH, or enlarged prostate, is one of the most common afflictions affecting men as they age. More than half of all men over the age of 60 will have enlarged prostates. Symptoms include more frequent urination, urinary tract infections, the inability to completely empty the bladder and, in severe cases, eventual damage to the bladder and kidneys.
The participants in the new study, who were previously diagnosed with BPH that did not respond to standard medical treatment, received injections of Botox directly into their prostate glands.
Up to one year post-injection, 73 percent experienced a 30 percent improvement in urinary tract symptoms and quality of life. The men did not experience any significant side effects, including stress urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction.
Presenting the findings at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association, researcher Yao-Chi Chuang, from Chang Gung University Medical College, Taiwan, explained that Botox reduces the size of the prostate gland through a cellular process called apoptosis, in which the prostate cells die in a programmed manner. This reduction in size can improve urine flow and decrease residual urine left in the bladder.
"Millions of men in the United States suffer from enlarged prostate," added co-researcher Michael B. Chancellor. "It's a challenging disease to live with because it causes frequent and difficult urination. Unfortunately, common treatments also are problematic because they carry some risk of serious side effects, such as impotence. Our results are encouraging because they indicate that Botox could represent a simple, safe and effective treatment for enlarged prostate that has long-term benefits."
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Source: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences