Uses and Side Effects of DMSO

DMSO, a sulfur compound, is a natural painkiller and an anti-inflammatory. It has received FDA approval for the treatment of interstitial cystitis (bladder infection). Read the following Buzzle article to know more about the medicinal uses and side effects of DMSO.
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Uses of of DMSO
Did You Know?
Bacteria tend to be resistant to antibiotic usage, but when mixed with DMSO, the same antibiotic is found to be effective in destroying the bacteria.
DMSO stands for dimethyl sulfoxide, a natural sulfur compound obtained from the bark of a tree. To be specific, the compound is derived from lignin―the substance that firmly holds the cells of trees. DMSO is extracted during the industrial process of making wood pulp. It is a colorless oily liquid that has been used for years as a solvent for industrial purposes. However, DMSO is particularly known for its therapeutic properties and commonly used for topical pain relief.

Thanks to its high sulfur content, DMSO is an effective natural therapy for a wide range of medical conditions. Sulfur in our body is important for proper development of muscles, skin, bones, ligaments, and tendons. No wonder, DMSO is said to have high therapeutic value in the field of medicine.

Medicinal Benefits

DMSO, used as a prescription medicine, in the form of a solution, gels, and creams can be helpful to treat the following medical conditions.

❖ Interstitial Cystitis
DMSO is known to be effective in the treatment of interstitial cystitis that is marked by inflammation of the bladder. Approved by the USFDA, DMSO is commonly used for bladder instillation that involves filling the bladder with a solution and then waiting for 10-15 minutes before emptying the bladder. A DMSO solution is introduced through the catheter, into the bladder, for instillation. This procedure is carried out every week or two, and repeated for 6 to 8 weeks. In most cases, patients improve within 3 to 4 weeks of treatment.

❖ Shingles
Shingles, a viral infection that causes localized painful rash, can also be treated with DMSO cream. The topical agent is effective to contain the proliferation of virus. Apply the DMSO cream containing 5 to 40% of idoxuridine to the painful areas of the skin to alleviate the burning sensation, and clear the rash within 3 days.

❖ Toenail Fungus
DMSO may help treat toenail fungus. Combine SSKI (a saturated solution of potassium iodide) and DMSO in equal amounts, and then apply it below the nail 2-3 times during the day. While SSKI is known for its antifungal properties, DMSO is known for its penetration power, which ensures that SSKI reaches the root of the infection and destroys it. Mixing it with antifungal herbal remedies, such as tea tree oil or peppermint oil, can also be effective to treat fungal infection. Applying DMSO topically can also help alleviate pain associated with foot problems such as hammertoes, bunions, calluses, ingrown toenails, and fissures between the toes.

❖ Keloid Scars
Keloid scars occur after a wound heals. Daily application of DMSO can work wonders to flatten this overgrown scar tissue. Applying a 50/50 ratio of water and DMSO, daily, is an easy way to dissolve keloid scars.

❖ Burns
In order to facilitate healing of burns, what better way than using DMSO. Applying a solution containing 50-70% of DMSO can help alleviate discomfort associated with minor burns. In fact, applying it at the earliest can restrict tissue damage.

❖ Eye Problems
DMSO is said to be a natural remedy for cataracts. A mixture of DMSO and superoxide dismutaste (SOD) is believed to clear this eye problem. Putting a drop of a solution containing 2 cc of SOD and 25 mg of DMSO, two times a day, may help dissolve cataracts and glaucoma.

❖ Skin Problems
External ulcers caused by varicose veins and diabetes may respond to topical application of DMSO. Herpes infection that causes cold sores and fever blisters can also be treated with DMSO. When applied properly, it can help inhibit viral growth, and destroy the infection. It can penetrate the cell membrane of the virus, and destroy the infection. DMSO can also be used in the treatment of schederma―a condition in which the skin and its connective tissues tighten and harden.

❖ Muscular Pain
Topical application of DMSO is an easy home remedy to minimize everyday aches and pains that afflict the muscles and joints. It displays anti-inflammatory properties and acts as an excellent pain reliever. It can also be useful to treat sports-related injuries such as Achilles tendon, broken fingers, sprained ankle, and pulled or torn muscle. Simply rub the topical ointment on the affected area to get relief from the pain. Its anti-inflammatory effect can also help relieve sciatica and lower back pain.

❖ Headache and Sinuses
Rubbing a DMSO gel of 90% concentration, on the forehead or the site where the head hurts, can be helpful to relieve sinus headaches and migraines. Being an anti-inflammatory, putting few drops of DMSO in the nostrils can reduce swelling of the sinuses associated with sinusitis.

❖ Arthritis
The anti-inflammatory activity of DMSO can help ease arthritis, a condition that is marked by inflammation of the joints. Topically applying DMSO may reduce swelling in the knuckles that is commonly associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

As DMSO shows infiltration assets, combining it with chemotherapy can make the cancer treatment more effective. Also, when DMSO is combined with haematoxylon (a homeopathic drug) and administered intravenously, it is found to reduce the tumor size. This combination is particularly useful in the treatment of breast cancer, prostate cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.

Probable Side Effects

Although DMSO may help to treat various medical conditions, using it orally or intravenously may cause the following side effects.

Headache
Nausea
Stomach upset
Drowsiness
Dry skin
Diarrhea
Constipation
Vomiting
Vision disturbances
Severe allergic reaction

Due to its high sulfur content, topical application of DMSO can cause a garlic-like body odor. Also, as DMSO easily penetrates the skin and gets absorbed into the body, it can cause the same garlic-like taste in the mouth, giving you bad breath.

Caution

Make sure that the DMSO formula is pharmaceutical grade. Do not use industrial grade DMSO, as it contains substances that can be toxic to your health.
Also, medical-grade DMSO is a prescription medicine and should be used as directed by your health care provider.
Also, FDA has endorsed DMSO only for the treatment of bladder infection (interstitial cystitis), while for other conditions, it has to be used strictly under medical supervision.
There is still inadequate evidence to consider DMSO for other medical conditions. Hence, one should take the consent of a doctor before using it for medical purposes.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.
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Published: June 2, 2014
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