Let’s look at what Botox is and some of the issues it can help.
What is Botox?
Botox is the brand name of a drug containing botulinum toxin, created from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Its generic name is botulinum toxin A. Botulinum toxin A works by temporarily paralyzing the muscles into which it is injected, which can soften the appearance of fine lines or wrinkles found on the skin. While it has broad aesthetic appeal, botulinum toxin A also works for other conditions, which we’ll explore.
Botulinum toxin A is prescribed for those severely affected by migraines. It’s been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults with 15 or more migraines each month, where the headaches last a minimum of four hours each.
A small study conducted by Norwegian researchers indicates that internal botulinum toxin A injections may help morbidly obese people lose weight. The results showed 75 percent of them lost significant amounts of weight after three internal injections of Botox into the lower part of the stomach over a one-year period. While this particular study was small, the results are promising.
Participants in various studies have noted arthritis pain relief after botulinum toxin A treatments. Botulinum toxin A works for pain relief by blocking certain chemical signals between the brain and the nerves, reducing pain. In studies done on knee pain, Botox paralyzes the muscle into which it is injected, targeting the joint’s pain nerves. What makes this most effective is other muscles in the knee area aren’t affected, so patients are able to continue to strengthen those unaffected muscles through exercise.
Botulinum toxin A can be injected directly into the armpits of those suffering from severe underarm sweating which effectively alleviates the condition.
Overactive bladder and incontinence
Patients dealing with overactive bladder or urinary incontinence may find help through use of botulinum toxin A. The medication reduces leakage incidents for those treated with the drug.
Peripheral neuropathy and cancer patients
Patients undergoing chemotherapy with the drugs cisplatin, carboplatin and oxaliplatin might develop painful peripheral neuropathy, a condition resulting from nerve damage affecting nerves in the bladder and bowels, along with leg and arm movements. Botulinum toxin A injections can relieve this nerve pain.
Botulinum toxin A may help the sex lives of both men and women. In women, vaginismus — involuntary vaginal muscle spasms — makes penetration difficult or impossible. Small studies in which botulinum toxin A is injected into the walls of the vaginal canal showed that Botox helped alleviate the chronic muscle contraction.
Among males, premature ejaculation is the most common sexual dysfunction, with nearly one-third affected at some time in their lives. After successful treatment using botulinum toxin A in studies involving rats, clinical trials for men are currently underway at the National Institutes of Health.
Patients diagnosed with dystonia, or involuntary muscle movement, may benefit from botulinum toxin A injections. Research is underway to establish botulinum toxin A’s effectiveness in helping decrease the muscle movements associated with Dystonia.
People with conditions like Multiple Sclerosis may suffer from limb spasticity (where certain muscles are continuously contracted). Botulinum toxin A is approved by the FDA for use in adults to treat both arm and leg spasticity.
Eye muscle problems
Botulinum toxin A was originally approved by the FDA in 1989 to treat two eye muscle disorders. Strabismus causes problems in focusing, as the eye muscles do not line up in the same direction. Blepharospasm results in constant eyelid spasms. Symptoms from both of these disorders can be alleviated with botulinum toxin A.
New uses for botulinum toxin A are being discovered and researched all the time, making it a popular, but often misunderstood treatment. If you’re considering botulinum toxin A for your own use, you can find more information here. And if you’re still on the fence about using botulinum toxin A for those pesky lines and wrinkles you might find, check out our blog dispelling common myths.
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