Botox: A Multi-Use Treatment Regimen
Although people generally tend to associate botulinum toxin–commercially known as Botox–as a treatment for wrinkles, it isn't only used cosmetically for smoothing crow's feet and frown lines. Botulinum toxin products is an approved treatment for a variety of medical problems. When other treatments fail, your doctor may recommend Botox to treat any of the following conditions.
Lazy eye, which is often first detected in early childhood, means that one eye has poor vision. While lazy eye, which is medically known as amblyopia, has various causes, if the underlying cause is not treated, vision in the affected eye worsens. A condition known as strabismus is a common cause of lazy eye.
Since strabismus is characterized by abnormally aligned or crossed eyes, an eye doctor may suggest the use of Botox to relax the muscle in the better eye so that it's not stronger than the muscle in the weaker eye. This helps give the eye muscles equal strength, preventing the stronger eye from turning in another direction.
Chronic migraines are characterized by headache pain and other symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity, which occur on 15 or more days out of the month. If your doctor recommends Botox injections to treat your migraines, a medical professional trained in administering botulinum toxin will inject multiple doses into different areas of your head and face, including your forehead, temples, and back of your head. He or she also may inject Botox into areas of your neck and upper back.
Although relief may not occur immediately, migraine symptoms usually begin to improve after about two weeks. However, you may require more than one treatment session before you notice reduced symptoms.
Hyperhidrosis is a condition in which excessive sweating occurs in a particular part of the body, such as the soles of the feet, underarms, palms of the hands, or scalp. When prescription-strength antiperspirants and oral medications fail to improve excessive underarm sweating, your doctor may recommend injections of Botox into the skin in your underarm area.
Botox, which is a neurotoxic protein, blocks acetylcholine—a neurotransmitter that transmits signals to cells. This stops the messages to release sweat from getting to the body's sweat glands.
Dystonia refers to a condition that affects fine motor control due to excessive muscular contractions—a condition that can also lead to abnormal postures or slow repetitive movements. A doctor experienced in the use of botulinum toxin for treating dystonia will inject the affected muscles, which reduces involuntary contractions by blocking the release of chemical messengers that tell the muscles to contract.
When anticholinergic medications fail to successfully treat an overactive bladder, injecting small doses of onabotulinumtoxinA into the bladder muscle helps reduce urinary incontinence and frequent urination. Since the involuntary loss of urine can occur even when there isn't much urine in your bladder, Botox partially paralyzes the bladder, preventing muscles in the bladder from contracting involuntarily and pushing out urine.