Botox is a neurotoxic protein produced by the clostridium botulinum bacterium. It is a lethal toxin that can cause a rare but fatal disease called botulism. Having said all that, here is some good news for you. Botox is used for cosmetic and medical purposes, not only in the country but all over the world for close to two decades now.
Cosmetically it is used on the face to make it appear smooth and wrinkle-free. But did you know that in tiny, controlled doses, Botox can be used to treat certain medical conditions? Given below are a few conditions that use Botox as a treatment for health conditions:
Debilitating headaches or chronic migraines that last more than 2 weeks every month can be treated with Botox injections. When given around the head and neck, Botox helps reduce or even prevent migraine headaches. Botox works by inhibiting the pathway of the neurotransmitters that carry pain signals from the brain. It could take between 2 and 3 weeks for the Botox injection to start showing results, and patients might need multiple doses of injections over a period of time.
Amblyopia or lazy eye syndrome
This occurs when both the eyes do not work in tandem as a pair. Poor nerve connection between the brain and the eye muscles is usually the cause of lazy eye syndrome. A tiny amount of Botox, when injected into one of the eye muscles, helps loosen up contracted muscles and reinstates control of eye movement in the desired direction. A single dose of Botox treatment typically lasts between 2 and 3 months at a time.
Cervical dystonia is characterized by an abnormal head position or acute neck pain. Botox works on the junction where the nerves and muscles meet. It reduces or stops excess muscle activity by preventing the release of acetylcholine that causes muscle contraction.
Strabismus or crossed eyes
Strabismus is a disorder in which both eyes do not look in the same direction at the same time. The reason for this could be poor control of the eye muscles. When Botox is injected directly into the eye muscle, it causes the eyeballs to adjust their position and focus in the same direction. While it might take between 1 or 2 days for the Botox injection to take effect, its effect could last anywhere between 3 and 4 months.
Incontinence or a severely overactive bladder
When Botox is injected into the bladder wall, it blocks the ability of the nerves to communicate with the sphincter muscles, thus treating urinary incontinence. It could take up to a week for the Botox to start working, and lasts anywhere between 3 and 9 months before successive injections have to be administered.
Irrespective of which health condition you intend to treat with Botox, the most critical aspect is to be under the care of a specialized and skilled doctor who has proper experience in dispensing Botox injections. And remember, like any other course of medication, using Botox as a treatment for specific health conditions does have its side-effects. It is advisable and important to understand them before initiating treatment.