(MAYOCLINIC.org) -- Botox has a reputation for erasing the years by smoothing away wrinkles on your face, but it has other uses in the medical world too.
For example, it's used to treat people who have a condition that causes excess sweating, and now doctors are using it to treat enlarged prostates.
There’s a group of guys who have a lot in common. They're over 50, active, and all at risk of developing an enlarged prostate. It's called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.
Dr. Lance Mynderse, M.D. is a Mayo Clinic urologist, and says, "It's a condition that involves overgrowth of normal tissue in the prostate."
Dr. Mynderse says it's a normal part of aging, but BPH causes symptoms including difficulty urinating as well as increased frequency and urgency.
Treatment options include medication, surgery and less invasive options such as heat therapy to burn away excess tissue, and now, doctors at Mayo Clinic are studying another option: Botox.
Using ultrasound guidance, doctors inject the Botox into the part of the prostate that is overgrown and squeezing the urethra. The medicine causes those tissues to relax, allowing urine to flow more normally.
Dr. Mynderse syas, "There is very good preliminary evidence that these drugs can not only relax the musculature much like some of the medicines do, but additionally it may actually atrophy or reduce the size of the prostate."
That shrinkage coulb be up to 50 percent.
Dr. Mynderse says, “It may only last six to nine months, perhaps a year, but if there's truly a shrinkage of the prostate, that's going to take some time to regenerate. So we think the capacity is to possibly last longer."
Not all men with BPH will benefit from Botox. It’s geared toward those who are considering medication and those who'd like to get off it. But Dr. Mynderse hopes Botox will prove to be one more minimally invasive option for many men.
Botox is not risk free, but so far, people in the study have not had adverse reactions.
If you're interested in learning more about BPH, you can visit MayoClinic.org.