More than meets the (unwrinkled) eye
We’ve all heard about the wonders of Botox—with just a few quick injections, your wrinkle worries are zapped away…perhaps along with your ability to smile or frown! Regardless of your opinion on the cosmetic uses of this mysterious drug, here are a few things you might not know about the uses of Botox.
It wasn’t created for crow’s feet. Botox is derived from a microbe that causes botulism, a type of food poisoning. Researchers have studied it since the 1820s, but it was first used for medical treatment in 1960 by Dr. Alan B. Scott. Scott was looking for a way to treat crossed eyes, and injections of the toxin were able to help them relax and work properly.
Don’t sweat it. For people with hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, Botox may provide relief that other medications can’t. The shots are administered in the underarm area and block chemical signals from nerves that activate sweat glands.
Move over, migraines. Botox has also been proven to help treat people with chronic migraines. Unlike other uses in which it relaxes muscle movement, Botox can help inhibit the release of neurotransmitters that allow us to feel pain during a migraine. Injections are typically given every twelve weeks.
Take back control. Of your bladder, that is! Those who are struggling with overactive bladder syndrome may find relief thanks to Botox. Once again, its inhibiting properties can help regulate muscle function in the bladder to a more manageable level.
Relax those muscles. And we’re not talking about just the ones in your face. Botox injections can treat a variety of muscle spasm disorders around the body, including the neck (cervical dystonia), arms, and legs. Inhibiting the nerve function of these areas allows them to relax and begin to function normally.
How far is too far? While the uses described above have been FDA-approved, there are many doctors who have reported success in everything from the treatment of TMJ symptoms to dealing with oily or red skin with “off-label” treatment. Our advice: engage at your own risk. Although the amount of research that has gone into Botox has increased, there’s no guarantee of outcomes, especially for these kinds of treatments.
If you’ve always thought those little shots were just for smooth-faced celebs, think again—it’s estimated that therapeutic use of Botox will soon outpace cosmetic use. But if that’s still leaving you with a furrow in your brow…go ahead, we won’t judge!