Most people hear the term Botox and think of wrinkles. There is no doubt that the main use of Botox is to treat facial wrinkles. Nonetheless, there are other things that the treatment does other than wrinkles. Doctors prescribe this treatment for patients with different medical conditions. In this article, we will look at everything you need to know about Botox.
What is Botox?
Botox is a drug made from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This bacteria is found naturally in forests, soil, lakes, and intestinal tracts of fish and mammals. Additionally, the bacteria is safe but becomes harmful when spores change and the population of cells increases. As a result, it produces Botulinum toxin that causes food poisoning.
Even though Botulinum toxin is dangerous, Botox injections are made in small doses. The Food Drug Administration first approved Botox in 1989. For this reason, the treatment is safe for various conditions. It also has few side effects when used appropriately.
How does Botox work?
The treatment comes in the form of powder and your doctor will dilute it with saline. This makes it injectable and removes harmful substances. After the injection, the substance moves from the dermis to the muscles and blocks nerves.
Botox prevents the release of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger that makes muscles contract. This consequently prevents the muscle from contracting and reduces stiffness. Further, the injection does not move through the body, it remains where injected. However, it may move only 3cm from the injected part.
Things that Botox treat
1. Severe underarm sweating
Severe sweating or hyperhidrosis is an embarrassing condition that can affect the quality of life. For instance, work, travel, clothes, and environments you visit in public. In most cases, it often affects one area such as the underarms, feet, arms, scalp, and groin area. Fortunately, Botox is approved safe to treat sweating underarms.
The doctor will first diagnose hyperhidrosis. First, they will ask about the sweating and where it occurs. Some can diagnose depending on physical examination and history. They can also do tests such as urine and blood tests to find if you have the condition.
Besides that, iodine can be put on a sweaty target area then sprinkled with starch. If the starch changes to blue, it indicates excess sweating. Another alternative is a paper test, a special paper is put on the sweaty place to absorb sweat. Heavier weight indicates excess sweating.
Botox injections help to relax minor sweat glands found under the skin. Sweat glands produce sweat that moves in the sweat duct and passes through the skin surface. When the sweat glands are relaxed, they will not produce excess sweat. During the procedure, a doctor will apply a numbing agent and inject it into the affected area.
2. Chronic Migraine
A migraine is more painful than a headache. It can cause nausea, sensitivity to light, and vomiting. These symptoms tend to interfere with normal life. Luckily, there are several treatments for chronic migraines and Botox is one of them. Some studies show that the injection is more effective than other treatments.
FDA has approved this treatment for severe migraine attacks. It blocks neurotransmitters, chemicals that take the pain from the brain. This prevents neurotransmitters from getting to nerves around the neck and head.
You can consider the treatment when you have a history of migraines or have tension headaches for 15 days or more (8 migraines). Conversely, it’s not approved if you have other types of headaches or get headaches 14 days or less each month.
Above and over, if you need Botox for migraines, get a specialist who will treat the affected area.
Several Botox injections are administered directly to the muscle. You may get 30-40 shots around the head, neck, and forehead in 1 treatment session. The treatment should be given after 3 months to control migraine attacks. Furthermore, the treatment cycle will depend on how your body responds. Most patients see results after one cycle while others take more.
3. Overactive bladder
Urinary inconsistency is the involuntary loss of urine due to bladder contraction. With an overactive bladder, you may urinate frequently or wake up many times in the night to urinate. Also, you may not be able to control yourself after a sudden urge to urinate.
This condition can affect physical, social, and mental well-being. Botox is a great option for patients who didn’t succeed with other treatments.
Overactive bladder treatment
Before the procedure, the doctor will carry out tests to determine if it’s suitable for you. When Botox is injected into the bladder, it helps to relax muscles. This helps to reduce bladder contractions, urine leakage, and the urge of going to the toilet. It also lowers how frequently you feel to urinate.
The treatment is simple and is done in the clinic. The doctor uses a cystoscope to inject the Botox into the bladder. A cystoscope is a tube with a camera that allows the doctor to see in the bladder.
4. Crossed eyes
Crossed eyes or strabismus is a condition where eyes don’t align at a similar point and at the same time. This means that they point in different directions. Botulinum toxin was first used to treat crossed eyes over 35 years ago.
Crossed eyes can cause medical and aesthetic issues. The weaker eye changes towards the nose and stays away from the target. Further, since the eyes don’t align together, it can cause double vision. This situation prevents the development of nerve connections of the eye and brain.
Crossed eyes treatment
After the target area is numbed, Botox is injected directly into the eye muscles. Consequently, it relaxes the muscles and reduces misalignment.
The effect of toxins in muscle relaxation may last between 3 to 4 months. Nonetheless, the eye alignment will be long-lasting.
5. Cervical Dystonia
Cervical dystonia is also known as spasmodic torticollis is a condition that makes the neck muscle contract without consciousness. This condition can also cause the head to twist involuntarily forward and backward.
Botulinum toxin paralyzes or causes the inability to move where it’s injected into the body. This means that it is effective to treat involuntary muscle contractions.
Cervical dystonia treatment
During the procedure, the dosing is based on medical history, muscle hypertrophy, location of pain, head and neck position. The doctor marks proper areas and then injects the Botox. This injection stops nerve signals from causing severe spasms and muscle contractions in the neck.
Patients with dystonia start to improve within 2 to 3 days. They also have long-lasting results after combining the treatment with physical therapy and oral medicine.
What are the side effects of Botox treatment?
Botox use can cause side effects that may be temporary, lasting for a few days or hours. These effects vary based on which condition it treats. Examples are:
- Dry eyes, drooping eyelids, eye inflammation, or swelling
- Cough, dry mouth, sore throat, chills
- Fever, nausea, headache, muscle aches, weak muscles near the injected area, and injection site reactions
- Urinary retention, urinary tract infection, upper respiratory tract infection, pain or discomfort when urinating
- Neck pain, pain on feet or hands
- Excess sweating in other parts than underarms
How to prevent Botox side effects
To reduce side effects, consider the following tips:
- Choose a professional doctor
A successful procedure will prevent chances of poor results and risks. Ensure the practitioner is experienced in Botox. As an example, a salon stylist is not the ideal person to administer injections. Here are the details to find an experienced doctor:
- Ensure they are board-certified: find out if the doctor is certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. This indicates that they are well trained and experienced in the cosmetic field. As a result, it prevents the risks of fake solutions, over or under-diluted saline.
- Doctor’s experience: choose a certified practitioner who has versatile experience.
- Pay attention to how the clinic makes you feel: you should feel comfortable with the doctor and team. Make sure you can talk openly about your habits and full medical history.
- Let the doctor know about your health conditions to avoid serious impacts. Also, tell the doctor about the medication you take including supplements, antibiotics, vitamins, muscle relaxants cold, or medicines.
- Pay attention to before and aftercare instructions.
- Reach out to your doctor immediately when you experience severe side effects.
Common side effects such as tenderness, redness, and swelling will disappear in 1 day. Nevertheless, there are rare side effects that need medical attention. This include:
- Difficulty speaking, swallowing, or hoarse voice.
- Change of vision, eye pain, and sensitivity to light, severe irritated or dry eyes.
- Severe weak muscles especially in the injected area.
- Poor or loss of bladder control, pain when urinating.
- Difficulty breathing, cough, sore throat, irregular heartbeat, chest tightness, chest pressure, or pain.
- Drooping eyebrows or eyelids
- Allergic reaction (whizzing, itching, hives, swelling of throat, tongue, lips, and face.
- Urinary retention
- Corneal ulceration, symptoms include watery eyes, white spots on the cornea, red eyes, painful eyes, and blurry vision.
Call your doctor immediately if any of the side effects last for several hours or weeks.
Who should not use Botox?
According to the FDA, the eligible age for Botox injection is between 18-65 years. However, you should not take when you:
- Allergic: the treatment is not suitable for people who are allergic to Botox ingredients. If you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, reach out to your doctor. Some of the reactions include dizziness, itching, wheezing, hives, and breathing difficulties.
- Skin infection: it is not recommended to take Botox if you have a skin infection in the injected area. Also, you should not have a bladder infection or not be able to urinate.
- Breathing problems: when injected too deep in the neck area, it can cause swallowing difficulties and trigger your asthma.
- Diseases that affect the nerves and muscles such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Lambert-Eaton Syndrome, and myasthenia gravis.
- Bleeding issues
- You have gone for facial surgery recently(4-6 weeks)
- Plan to go for surgery
- On medications or recently taken supplements, vitamins, and other medications.
- Allergan manufacturers advise not to take the injections when pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to conceive.
Frequently asked questions
The cost of injections varies from one clinic to another or cosmetic surgeon to another. Some doctors charge depending on the number of units while others by zones. Generally, a unit may range from $6 to $25 while a zone may range from $250 to $350. Besides that, the treatment session for other things like sweating and migraines may cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 or more.
Although injections tend to hurt, Botox is less painful even without a numbing substance. A doctor may numb the area with a cold pack or anesthetic cream for at least 20 minutes. Moreover, the needles are tiny and the same size as the ones for self-injecting insulin. You will feel less discomfort afterward.
As mentioned earlier, Botox is not toxic when used in small doses. However, large doses can result in botulism and you may experience vomiting and nausea. This is why you need to choose a reliable doctor with years of experience.
Just like other treatments, Botox becomes less effective when used for a long period. The immune system gets used to these injections and develops antibodies. These antibodies begin to fight Botox hence you become immune. This is often caused by receiving higher doses of Botox. Doctors often use a small number of doses and wait between injections.
Botox doesn’t need recovery time. Therefore, you will resume your activities immediately. However, you should follow aftercare instructions to get optimal results. For instance, relax throughout the day and maintain a normal heartbeat. Lastly, avoid rubbing, touching, and putting pressure on the treated area.
Botox is not only for cosmetic purposes but also for medical purposes. This procedure is painless and quick for busy people. Further, the injections are safe when done by trained medical professionals. It’s important to research for a certified doctor diligently.
Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery offers Botox in Houston, Texas. Our professional staff strives to provide successful results and ensure customer satisfaction. To find out more about our Botox treatment, please call Dr. Vitenas’s offices today on 281.484.0088 or fill this form to get a photo evaluation. Lastly, if you find this article helpful, don’t forget to share.