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The surprising versatility of Botox®

versatility of Botox

The last few decades of Botox uses in the human body have been developed from a series of unforeseen side effects. From eye muscles, to wrinkles, to pain relief. As of 2023 many medical uses have become apparent and this will probably continue as more trials take place across the world. Below we list some of the uses for Botox aside from the obvious cosmetic reasons it is best known for. Check out our related blog: 3 suprising uses for Botox.

 

Poison to cure

Botulinum toxin was first discovered in Belgium in the late 1800s after a food poisoning outbreak. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s before it was used in a therapeutic setting to treat the muscles that cause crossed eyes. It was not long after before patients started to experience the beneficial side effect of relaxed wrinkles. Since then botulinum toxin has been successfully used in a bewildering number of applications. Both medical and cosmetic.

 

Treatment of muscle spasms and dystonia

Botox has now been used for many years to treat muscle spasms and dystonia, a movement disorder characterised by involuntary muscle contractions. Botox is injected directly into the affected muscles, where it blocks the nerve signals that cause the muscle contractions. This can provide relief from muscle pain and stiffness and improve mobility.

 

Management of chronic migraines and headaches

After Botox was licensed in the 1980’s for wrinkle relaxing patients started to report that they had fewer and less severe migraines.  It was not long before Botox obtained approval from the FDA for the treatment of chronic migraines and headaches. It is thought to work by blocking the release of chemicals involved in pain signalling, reducing both the frequency and intensity of headaches. Botox injections are typically given to patients every 12 weeks and have been shown to be effective in reducing the number of headache days in people with chronic migraines.

 

Reducing excessive sweating

Botox can also be used to reduce excessive sweating, a condition known as hyperhidrosis. When injected under the arms it  blocks the nerve signals that trigger sweat production. This can provide relief from excessive sweating and reduce the use of antiperspirants.

 

Relief of overactive bladder symptoms

Botox can also be used to treat overactive bladder for a condition characterised by what is known as urge incontinence. When injected into the bladder muscle, Botox blocks the nerve signals that cause the muscle contractions that lead to urinary urgency and incontinence. This can obviously be of great relief from these symptoms and improve quality of life for the sufferers no end.

 

The treatment of eye disorders

Botox can also be used to treat eye muscle disorders such as strabismus, a condition in which the eyes are misaligned.This was its first proper medical use. When injected into the affected eye muscles, Botox can help to realign the eyes and improve vision. Botox can also be used to treat other eye muscle disorders such as blepharospasm, a condition in which the eyelids blink or spasm uncontrollably, 

 

Sexual Health

It might sound counterintuitive but botulinum toxin  is now used in male erectile dysfunction disorders to increase the flow of blood and to relax muscles. For women’s sexual health  it is used to treat muscles involved in the condition vaginismus.

 

Teeth grinding

Bruxism is the condition of grinding one’s teeth, often at night, or involuntary clenching of the jaw muscles. Sufferers are given a teeth guard but many do not get along with this during sleep. Botox injected into the jaw can provide much needed relief. 

 

Acne

Another condition that was said to be helped by patients receiving Botox injections in acne

Trials are ongoing but it is thought that Botox stops the production of oil from the sebaceous glands, a major factor in acne. This does not look to be a solution for all types of acne though, as it seems to be more effective in certain areas, such as the forehead.

 

Poor circulation

Constricted blood vessels can be treated with botox. When injected into muscles in an area that is suffering from poor circulation patients can expect increased blood flow. An example of this is Raynaud’s Syndrome, which usually affects the fingers and toes. It is reported that patients can be relieved for up to 6 months following a botox injection

 

An interesting future for medical toxin use

As each year goes by Botox is proving itself to be a versatile treatment with a wide range of medical applications, far beyond  cosmetic uses. Botox is currently being trialled for treating many conditions, in varied doses, including microscopic amounts much smaller than the tiny amounts currently being used. With its many medical uses, Botox has proven to be a valuable tool in improving the health and wellbeing of many patients.

Botox is generally safe and effective when administered by a trained healthcare professionals, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before undertaking any treatment.

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