Study suggests botulinum toxin can treat endometriosis pain
A new small-scale pilot study has just been released suggesting botulinum toxin injections may be effective in the treatment of pain caused by endometriosis, writes Mala McAlpin.
Researchers reported in August in Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine that of the 13 participants that took part in the study, all reported a reduction in pain between 4-8 weeks after their treatment.
Candidates that took part in the study were aged 21-51, had been professionally diagnosed with the condition, in which tissue similar to the lining in the uterus grows elsewhere in the body, and had been suffering pain for at least two years. Botulinum toxin injections were administered into the pelvic floor (which supports the pelvic organs) targeting areas of muscle spasm that occurred in sites of pain.
1 of the 13 candidates reported their pain following the treatment as either mild or completely gone. According to the pre-study questionnaire, designed to measure how the pain interfered with day-to-day activities like standing, walking, sleeping and sex life, 8 of the 13 women described the pain they experienced as a moderate to very severe disability. 6 of these indicated their disability had decreased.
“The botulinum toxin injections were incredibly effective in decreasing pain levels, as well as patients’ use of pain medications, including opioids,” said Pamela Stratton, M.D., one of the study’s lead authors.
“Many of the women in our study reported that the pain had a profound effect on their quality of life, and this treatment may be able to help them get their lives back.”
Endometriosis currently affects around 5-10 per cent of women, or 176 million worldwide. Standard treatments include hormone therapy and surgery in order to remove tissue lesions outside the uterus, but debility pain can persist even after these treatments as muscle spasms cause painful ‘ripples’ through the pelvic floor. There is currently no cure, so this pilot study suggests botulinum may yet be a promising tool in the fight against endometriosis pain.
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