London: Botox, best known for smoothing out facial wrinkles, could be an effective treatment for women suffering from overactive bladder syndrome, scientists have claimed.
Researchers at Leicester University in the UK found that injecting a small quantity of the toxic directly into the wall of the bladder improves symptoms in women who too often hear the call of the bathroom.
It halved the numbers of times when women with moderate to severe urinary incontinence urgently needed the lavatory, or ended up having a little accident, the researchers found.
It also cut the number of times they needed the bathroom by a quarter, they said.
Dr Douglas Tincello, who led the study, said: "Overactive bladder syndrome is a relatively common health issue which affects up to a fifth of women aged 40 and over."
"The study hopefully means much better treatment for this condition which can severely impact on quality of life and cause women considerable embarrassment," Dr Tincello was quoted as saying.
The study was carried out at eight urogynaecology centres in the UK from 2006 to 2009, involving of 240 women having the bladder problem.
The participants were split into two groups, with 122 women given Botox and 118 receiving a dummy treatment.
Researchers found improvements across a range of symptoms, including wetting oneself, feeling a need to rush to the toilet, and how often the women "leaked" urine.
However, there were side-effects -- including some women needing to use a catheter to go to the toilet because of paralysis in the bladder muscle. Some even developed urinary tract infection.
Current treatments of overactive bladder syndrome include pelvic floor exercises, behavioural therapy and drugs that can have side-effects, such as a dry mouth, constipation and blurred vision.
Results of the new study are published in the journal European Urology.