When people in Central Florida hear the word “Botox,” many preconceived ideas and images come to mind. Throw those perceptions away and learn the facts; you’ll be surprised by all the benefits Botox, a popular injectable, can actually provide.
Botox is a drug made from a toxin produced from the bacterium clostridium botulinum; the same toxin that, in large doses, can cause the life-threatening type of food poisoning known as botulism. However, the Botox doses used for cosmetic purposes are nowhere near potent enough to cause this type of poisoning.
Botox works by blocking nerve signals to the muscles at the injection site. The affected muscle therefore cannot contract and allows the wrinkles to relax and soften. The effects of a Botox injection can last from three to six months, but after each injection, the wrinkles return less severely, as the muscles are subsequently trained to relax.
Botox is actually short for Botulinum Toxin, a neurotoxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The purified protein can come in many brand names. The most popular and well studied is Botox Cosmetic. When injected in small amounts, it prevents muscles from contracting by blocking signals from the nerves to the muscles. This allows wrinkles to relax and soften and therefore creates a more youthful appearance. In fact, Ophthalmologists were the first medical specialists to begin injecting Botox for both medical and aesthetic purposes in the early 1980’s.
For muscles to contract, nerves release a chemical messenger, acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter). This is then attached to receptors in the muscles that cause the muscle to shorten and contract. When Botox is injected, it stops the release of acetylcholine thereby preventing the muscle from contracting. It’s a simple solution to an age-old problem.
When injected, Botox is mixed with a saline solution to dilute the neurotoxin. It is then injected directly into the neuromuscular tissue. Generally, it takes 5 to 7 days for Botox to take its full effect and the results will last for several month. It’s seamless process that provides a natural, youthful appearance!
Doctors use Botox in small doses to treat a number of health problems and aesthetic concerns, including:
- Temporary removal of facial wrinkles
- Severe underarm sweating
- Cervical dystonia (a neurological disorder that causes severe muscle contractions of the neck and shoulder)
- Blepharospasm (uncontrollable blinking)
- Strabismus (misaligned eyes)
- Migraine headaches
- Neuropathy (nerve disorder)
- Achalasia (esophagus disorder)
- Overactive bladder
Potential Side Effects of Botox
With any medicine, there is a list of potential side effects from use. For Botox, some of the common side effects include:
- Pain at injection site
- Flu-like symptoms
- Upset stomach
- Temporary drooping eyelids