Botox basics

Although it’s best known as a way to smooth out wrinkles, Botox has many other uses as well.  It is often used for excessive sweating in the hands and feet, overactive bladder, neck spasms, eye twitching, or a lazy eye.  It has also been used to help prevent chronic migraines in some sufferers as well.


Botox relies on the active ingredient of botulinum toxin to temporarily paralyze the muscle.  The toxin is produced by a microbe that can be traced back to the cause of botulism.  When an injection is made, the toxin blocks chemical signals from the nerves, causing the muscles to relax, which helps to reduce wrinkles.


A doctor will usually numb the area to be injected with a topical anesthesia to minimize any discomfort.  He or she will then use a thin needle to inject small amounts of botulinum toxin into a patient’s muscles or skin.  The number of injections will depend on the extent of the area being treated,together with other factors.  Patients can go about their normal business immediately following injections.  The only caution is to make sure not to rub the area of the injections, which may cause the toxin to migrate to another part of the body.


Botox injections are considered a safe procedure, but sometimes there might be side effects.  They could include pain or swelling around the injection site, a headache, droopy eyelids or cockeyed eyebrows, dry eyes or excessive tearing.  In rare cases, the toxin may spread to other parts of the body, causing symptoms resembling botulism.  This may include vision problems, breathing problems, a loss of bladder control, muscle weakness throughout the body, or trouble speaking or swallowing.  If any of these symptoms appear, it’s imperative to call your doctor or seek medical attention immediately.


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