Botox Can Keep You Out of The Bathroom

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Botox and Painful Urination

The most toxic substance known to man could become the most effective means to treat the 33 million Americans suffering with overactive bladders, said a urologist at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston.

Botox, known in recent years for its use by dermatologists to smooth wrinkles in the face, is now giving new hope to patients with urinary incontinence or painful urination. Dr. Christopher P. Smith, BCM urologist, uses the toxin in his clinic, and is one of the first physicians in the country to conduct research on its effectiveness in bladder and urethral disorders.

"I was going to the bathroom up to 30 times a day," said Cindy Sinclair, patient. "I think it was most frustrating because I was always on the go, always involved, always doing something. And I got to where I could hardly get outside the house to come to the office."

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Cindy tried numerous medications, but every therapy failed. Botox finally gave her the relief she sought.

Using a cystoscope, urologists inject Botox into numerous sites in the bladder. The toxin works by inactivating proteins involved in neurotransmitter release from nerve terminals. The resulting decrease in neurotransmitter release leads to a weakening or paralysis of underlying muscles.

"It prevents the muscles from having the spasms which cause patients to experience urinary frequency and urgency," Smith said. "It's very durable in that these patients will have a good response lasting anywhere from four to six months, sometimes even longer."

Due to Smith's ground-floor work with the agent, BCM has received a grant from Allergan, the makers of Botox, to study new urologic uses of the toxin. Smith and other researchers in the BCM Scott Department of Urology are also examining whether Botox may also be useful to treat patients with urinary symptoms due to an enlarged prostate, also called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.

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