Endometriosis is a disorder that causes pain in the pelvic area of women. This is a condition where endometrial tissue, which normally lines the inside of the uterus, grows outside the uterus, most commonly affecting the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining the pelvic region. Sometimes, but not very commonly, the endometrial tissue may even spread beyond a woman's pelvic organs. Now as the endometrial tissue would normally be stripped off the uterine lining during menstruation, it would do the same with the other organs affected with endometriosis, causing additional bleeding with each menstrual cycle. But because this stripped off tissues are outside the uterus, there is no exit point for them and they become trapped in the body, causing irritation and possibly other complications.
While Botox is more commonly known for helping make the skin smoother and eliminate wrinkles, a recent study says that the severe pain caused by endometriosis may be relieved for months using Botox injections.
In the study, 13 women of ages 21 to 51 with endometriosis for at least two years agreed to have Botox injected into their pelvic floor, specifically in the areas where muscle spasms were observed. These participants have had surgery and hormone treatments in the past to try to address their condition but to minimum success, their pain persisted. All of them also had muscle spasms in their pelvic floor, which supports the pelvic organs.
Out of the 13 women in the study, eight of them reported that they have experienced moderate to severe disability when it comes to how the pain affects their daily activities from simple walking and standing to personal care and sex life. After four to eight weeks of treatment, all of the 13 women reported that the pain was observably reduced; 11 of them rated the pain after the treatment as mild or completely gone, as the researchers reported in Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine. In seven of these 13 women, the relief lasted from 5 to 11 months, asking them a year after the treatment. Out of the eight who said that the pain interfered with their daily lives, six have reported that their disability was reduced after the injection.
Barbara Karp, a neurologist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, says that the women in the study had been able to benefit beyond the relief of pain. Some of them were even able to resume having sex without feeling pain. Andrea Rapkin, an obstetrician, and gynecologist at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine not involved in the research said that Botox may be a promising tool for the treatment of endometriosis, but she also noted that the treatment is expensive and that the study size was very small. She noted that larger studies, where Botox is compared with placebo, need to be done in order to be able to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the botulinum toxin treatment.