Botox is a protein that is most often associated with cosmetic treatments, including the reduction of facial wrinkles.

But doctors are conducting research to find out whether or not Botox can be used to treat enlarged prostates in men.

The potential beneficiaries would be men over the age of 50, who run the risk of developing Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).

"It's a condition that involves overgrowth of normal tissue in the prostate,'' said Dr. Lance Mynderse, a Mayo Clinic Urologist.

The development of an enlarged prostate is a normal part of aging, says Dr. Lance Mynderse.

However, BPH causes symptoms including difficulty urinating as well as increased frequency and urgency.

Treatment options include medication, surgery and less invasive options like heat therapy to burn away excess tissue.

And now doctors are studying another option, Botox.

It could work like this:

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.

"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 by up to 50 per cent,'' said Dr. Mnyderse.

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.

"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,'' said Dr. Mynderse.

Dr. Mynderse is hopeful botox will prove to be one more minimally invasive option for men with BHP.

For more information on the Victoria botox prostate study, please contact Allergan Inc at, and refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00284518.

With files from CTV British Columbia's Dr. Rhonda Low