By: Godfrey Onime
Botox injections are everywhere — or so it seems. According to an estimate by the American Society For Plastic Surgeons, there were 6.7 million Botox injections performed in 2015. When most people reflect on the uses of Botox, they think of it’s as mainly to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines on the face. But this little miracle injection is used for much more than that. It’s helping thousands, if not millions, of people with other conditions that are far from what some may consider “vanity” uses. Simply put, Botox injections is providing hope for many with various conditions.
Botox itself is a pure form of botulinum toxin A, which when injected into a wrinkle, can temporarily freeze the muscle underneath, making the lines appear less noticeable. Considering this fact that Botox relaxes muscles, you can probably see why it is being used for other medical reasons. Following are 5 amazing medical uses for Botox that you might not have known about.
This is one of the most popular off-brand uses for Botox approved by the FDA. People who get migraines need relief fast. Episodes of migraines cause intense headache pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea. Getting Botox injections in the forehead area every twelve weeks has significantly helped some people with migraines. Some migraine sufferers may get headaches eight to twelve times a month. Preventive Botox injection treatment is estimated to reduces headaches by eight or nine days per month.
The disorder that causes excessive sweating is called hyperhidrosis. Those with this condition sweat significantly more than the average person. For this condition, Botox is meant to be used in the hands, feet, armpits, or even on the hairlines to prevent sweat from pouring down a person’s face. Injection of Botox solution can block the sweat glands from perspiring, and help a person with the condition not to feel self-conscious.
An eye disorder for which Botox is used is called strabismus, or cross eyes. Strabismus can be corrected by injecting Botox into the eye muscles. This treatment was developed in the 1980’s, and today among the best experts performing the procedure are pediatric ophthalmologists at Boston Children’s Hospital. They even offer to evaluate and treat adults with this condition.
Muscle spasms or stiffness can be painful or debilitating side effects of certain neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis. For those with such conditions, Botox can sometimes be a Godsend. Botox can help soothe muscle twitches that are normally not effectively controlled by medication. In people who had suffered strokes or traumatic brain injuries, Botox can also relieve jerky unpredictable muscle movements, as well as repetitive involuntary muscle movements. The injection is given right into the muscle, so that it targets the root of the problem and help to relax the muscles’ core. Indeed, in conjunction with other medication and therapies, doctors are using this more often at such centers as the Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Institute.
The National Association For Continence estimates that 80 percent of people with urinary incontinence, or overactive bladder can be cured, or at the very least be treated with methods that cause significant improvement in their condition. Botox is one of the latest uses to target this growing problem. A study presented at the American Urological Association’s yearly convention revealed that 9 out of 10 patients who were treated with Botox over a four-year period found that their incontinence episodes dropped in half. That study was conducted by Allergan Inc, the makers of Botox.
On to You
Have you or someone you know been treated with Botox? For what? What do you think about Botox generally? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
About the Author
Dr. Godfrey Onime is a practicing physician in Lumberton, North Carolina. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Guideposts Magazine, and the collection of Stories, The Country Doctor Revisited, among others. Besides practicing medicine, he teaches medical students and residents, and enjoys writing and editing for HealAway. Follow him on Twitter @GodfreyOnime.