Prog Urol. 2018 Sep;28(11):523-529. doi: 10.1016/j.purol.2018.07.002. Epub 2018 Aug 8.
INTRODUCTION: Menthol is a natural compound, of which the known effects on human physiology are manifold (a feeling of freshness, decongestant, bowel antispasmodic). Its implication in vesico-sphincteral physiopathology has been studied since the nineties.
METHOD: Literature review of the previous studies having implied menthol in pelvi-perineal physiology through the articles indexed on the Pubmed database, with keywords menthol, menthol and bladder, menthol and toxicity, and TRPM8. Only articles in English were selected.
RESULTS: Of the 30 articles that were included, most demonstrated the existence of a micturition reflex to menthol and cold, mediated by the C-type nerve to the spine through activation of TRPM8 urothelial receptors. More recent experiments paradoxically showed an inhibitory effect of menthol on detrusor contractility, independently of TRPM8, when muscle tissue is directly exposed to the compound. However, similar effects of targeted cutaneous exposure or urothelial exposure on detrusorian function have also been demonstrated through TRPM8. This receptor also appears to be involved in interstitial cystitis and idiopathic detrusor overactivity. Lastly, the potential toxicity of menthol appears negligible. Most of the referenced studies are related to animal experiments. Of the three studies that implied humans, only one elucidates some therapeutic applications.
CONCLUSION: It seems that menthol and its receptors are involved in vesico-sphincteral physiopathology and could provide therapeutic potential in detrusorian overactivity and interstitial cystitis with reduced toxicity.