For those living with endometriosis, pelvic pain can prove to be one of the most difficult symptoms to ignore. The pain can be excruciating, affecting the patient’s quality of life. However, a new treatment could be on the horizon for sufferers of persistent pelvic pain in the form of Botulinum toxin.
A new study has shown that Botulinum toxin can provide relief from severe pelvic pain for months. Here, we’ll look at the new study and its results, alongside what it could mean for the future of Endometriosis treatment.
Understanding the new study into pelvic pain
The recent study carried out by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), consisted of 13 patients. The women had been diagnosed with Endometriosis and they were aged between 21 and 51. All had experienced pelvic pain for a period of at least two years, including pelvic floor spasms. They had also undergone surgery as well as hormone treatments, but neither had provided relief.
They were given botulinum toxin injections directly into the pelvic floor. After four and eight weeks, all of the patients reported improvements within the level of pain experienced. A total of 11 out of the 13 patients, rated their pain levels after the treatment as mild or non-existent. The study also revealed that the pain subsided after treatment for a period of 5-11 months.
Some patients also reported they could have sexual intercourse without pain after the treatment. They also said they were able to generally function much better.
How does it work?
The Botulinum toxin blocks the acetylcholine molecule. This prevents it from signalling the nerve cells to contract. This keeps the muscle relaxed. The toxin is also thought to block chemical messages that would send pain signals to the brain.
It can provide relief for up to three months, where the injections will usually be required again. In some cases, the study showed relief can be provided for longer, but it isn’t a permanent solution.
Providing relief, but not a cure
While the new study shows how promising Botulinum Toxin injections could be in the treatment of Endometriosis, it’s important to realise it isn’t a cure.
The injections simply mask the problem, they don’t get to the root cause. Some experts argue it is no more effective than using physical and pelvic therapy. However, the results of the study do clearly show it provides long-lasting relief. So, even if it isn’t a cure, it could still be used to provide temporary relief from the symptoms of the condition.
Further research does need to be carried out to determine just how effective the injections could be. The study only involved a small group of women, so larger studies will need to be conducted. However, initial results are certainly promising. Thousands of women live with pelvic pain caused by Endometriosis. It has been shown to have a significantly negative impact on their everyday lives. So, an injection which could stop pain for up to three months or more will undoubtedly be welcomed by patients.
For more advice on Endometriosis and pelvic pain, call 07835 736627 to arrange a consultation.