The Many Uses of Botox

Beyond erasing wrinkles Botox® has many medical applications from easing migraines and excessive sweating to helping control premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.

Cosmetic use of Botox®

You may think of Botox® as something utilized by expressionless Hollywood actresses and spoiled trophy wives to keep foreheads preternaturally smooth, and ageing at bay. It is true that many of our celebrities have suffered at the hands of overzealous doctors. But the in the right hands, that is to say a physician who has a profound sense of aesthetics and anatomy, Botox® can freshen and rejuvenate without altering one’s expression  for the worse.

What is Botox®?

Botox® is made from a purified, mostly harmless neurotoxin that causes Botulism. It was developed in the 1980s by Dr. Alan Scott, a San Francisco ophthalmologist, who was looking for a cure for crossed eyes. His incidental discovery was that it made wrinkles dissipate.

Since 2002, Botox® has been FDA-approved for all kinds of therapeutic applications, including migraines, severe sweating, muscle stiffness, and urinary incontinence.

Chronic migraines 

In 1992, Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. William Binder noticed his Botox® patients reported fewer headaches. Allergan tested the drug on people suffering from chronic migraines, and Botox® was FDA approved  for the disorder in 2010.

Neck spasms/ Vaginal spasms/ Facial spasms

In 2000, Botox® was approved by the FDA in treating severe neck spasms and pain. Though not yet approved, some women use Botox® injections to treat spasmodic vaginal muscles, thus easing pain and making intercourse possible.

Botox to halt excessive perspiration

When doctors noticed that their patients being treated for facial spasms were sweating less, scientists at Allergan and outside of the company began studying whether Botox® could be a successful therapy for people with who sweated profusely. Botox® was approved for the treatment in 2004. Today,  Botox® is used to treat overly sweaty hands and feet.

Depression

In 2014, Dr Norman Rosenthal, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, and Dr. Eric Finzi, an assistant professor of psychiatry at George Washington School of Medicine, published a study showing that when people with major depression got Botox®, they reported fewer symptoms six weeks later than people who had been given placebo injections. Scientists have since determined that Botox can influence the central nervous system beyond the areas in which it is injected.

Other applications:

Botox® is being tested for its ability to halt premature ejaculation and to help with erectile dysfunction, prevent abnormal heartbeat patterns, treat excessively cold hands and scar tissue in babies with cleft palates.

Further unapproved uses of Botox® injections include:

Writer’s cramp –  Injections are also helpful for “musician’s cramp,” in which the musician’s fingers contract while playing.

Hand tremors The injections probably improve tremor severity but may also result in finger weakness.

Spasticity – Shown to be beneficial for lower-limb spasticity associated with cerebral palsy in children and for upper-limb spasticity associated with strokes in adults. The injections particuarly improve the gait of children with tightened calf muscles.

Esophageal spasms -The injections appear to reduce such symptoms as regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, and accompanying upper chest pain.

Drooling -Evidence suggests that the shots may control excess salivation in people with Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Voice abnormalities– For vocal cord palsy, or spasms that produce a strained or tremulous voice.

Gummy Smile –  Injecting Botox into the upper lip weakens the retractor muscles, lowering the lip line to produce a more aesthetically balanced smile.

Jaw Softening – Botox can be used to perform jaw line softening. Injecting Botox into the masseter muscle (the primary muscle used in chewing actions) reduces its overall size; transforming an overly square and masculine appearing jawline into a more feminine oval or heart shape.

Jaw Tension, Lock Jaw, and TMJ Disorder – Experimental-stage research has shown Botox to be effective in treating a variety of jaw disorders including severe tension, TMJ Disorder, and lock jaw. When injected into the jaw Botox relaxes the facial muscles; both reducing occurrences and minimizing symptoms.

 Anal fissures -Botox® seems to have a better healing rate and side-effect profile than nitroglycerin ointment for persistent tears caused by spasms of the anal sphincter.

Botox® may yet to demonstrate other uses for medical conditions, so far it seems to be a wonder drug.

Side effects of Botox® may include:

Allergic reactions, rash, itching, headache, neck pain, muscle stiffness, shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea, muscle weakness, cold and flu symptoms, and drowsiness.