The Many Uses Of Botox
Botox is commonly recognized as an injection treatment to either turn back or slow down the hands of time. By reducing the wrinkle lines of the forehead and around the eyes, a more relaxed and often a less scowling appearance is achieved. But the use of Botox continues to find new medical problems for which it is effective. Allergan, Botox’a manufacturer, is already a multibillion company which continues to experience record revenue and earnings growth.
The newest FDA-approved indication is in the treatment of migraines. Approved last year it works for migraines just like it does for wrinkles, by relaxing muscles. But it is injected around those nerves in the head which are being squeezed by muscles and thus serve as the trigger for the migraine headache. These are commonly in the eyebrow, temple and at the base of the skull in the back of the head. For some patients the temporary relief is a near-miracle which will last about four months. Botox in migraines is also a test which proves that doing surgery by removing this muscle around the nerve can have a more permanent effect.
Botox has long been approved for halting severe underarm sweating, an embarrassing condition known as hyperhidrosis. This disorder causes so much perspiration that some sufferers are forced to carry several changes of clothing to make it through the day. The excessive sweating is caused by over stimulation of the sweat glands by the nerves of the autonomic system. Botox interferes with the nerves responsible for this drenching. It has a similar benefit to those who also suffer excessive sweating in the palm of their hands. (palmar hidrosis)
Botox is effective for cervical dystonia, a condition that causes the neck to twitch, twist, and go though repetitive movements and carry the head in abnormal postures. This happens because of involuntary muscle contractions which the injections directly weaken. It is similarly effective in cerebral palsy in which patients have stiff spastic arms and legs caused by abnormal signals from the brain to the muscles. Botox interrupts this communication between the nerves and the spinal cord which then causes the muscles to relax.
Overactive bladders are also benefiting by these injections. Caused by muscle spasms of the bladder muscles, urinary incontinence can make it difficult for some patients to undergo even short car trips. Some patients end up wearing adult diapers. Botox overcomes bladder incontinence by weakening or paralyzing those muscles which contract inappropriately and squeeze out the urine involuntarily.
Botox can also stop chronic pelvic pain which can make it difficult to have sexual intercourse or undergo an examination or a pap smear test. This type of pelvic pain is caused by tight over-contracted pelvic muscles.
While often perceived as a drug of beauty, the many medical benefits of Botox makes its few precious drops life-changing for more just a better look in the mirror.
Dr. Barry Eppley