What You Need to Know About Botox

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Published on: July 28, 2017

You will often hear the word Botox as a cosmetic for removing wrinkles and as a treatment for muscular conditions. It’s a product name for botulinum toxin, a neurotoxin from the Clostridium botulinum bacteria.

How does it work?

The toxin works by paralyzing the muscles temporarily. The source bacteria is inactive in a natural environment and become harmful when when its spores become vegetative cells and they begin producing botulinum toxin excessively. An infection of the botulinum toxin is called botulism. It can cause respiratory failure by targeting the signals in the nervous system. It is considered one of the deadliest substances.

In very small concentrations, botulinum toxin can stop signals from the nerve cells by preventing the release of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter. The muscles are paralyzed for a while because they don’t receive instructions. There are currently eight types of these neurotoxins.

What is it used for?

It’s used for the following medical conditions: muscular disorders, bowel and bladder disorders like urinary incontinence, chronic migraine, excessive sweating, eye squints or spasm of the eyelids, crossed eyes, severe neck and shoulder spasms, post-stroke upper limb spasticity, hemifacial spasm, esophageal issues, anal sphincter dysfunction, allergic rhinitis, cerebral palsy, contraction of jaw or vocal chords, and hypersalivation.

For cosmetic purposes, they remove frown lines and crow’s feet. The toxin is diluted sodium chloride and injected directly into the neuromuscular tissue. It usually takes three to five days to take full effect. An injection relaxes the muscles causing the overlying skin to become smooth.

Is it safe?

Don’t worry, botulinum toxin is safe at correct dosages, but it should not be administered to people who have allergic reactions to the drug or to pregnant or lactating mothers.

Its side effects include pain at the injection site as well as edema; headache; transient numbness; temporary weakness of muscles, weakness or drooping of eyelids; dysphagia; nausea; brachial plexopathy; blurred or double vision; dry mouth; rashes or hives and swelling; fatigue and wheezing. There is a danger that the effect can spread to other parts of the body.

Botox treatment for wrinkles are effective for at least four months, so the injections can be repeated when the effects wear off.

If you’re considering getting one for cosmetic purposes, consider the proper labeling, naming and dosage of the types of botulinum toxin used for the procedure. The most common brand names are the following: Botox Cosmetic is named onabotulinumtoxinA, while Myobloc is called rimabotulinumtoxinB. Dysport is called abobotulinumtoxinA while Xeomin is named incobotulinumtoxinA.

What should I remember?

When considering getting a Botox for your wrinkles, tell your doctors about your medical history such as allergies, nerve and muscle conditions, your medicines and supplements, and the side effects after the treatment. Remember that these injections should only be done by licensed doctors and treatments are spaced at least three months.

Before doing injections, the doctor will do a facial analysis and interview. During treatment, the specialist will inject three areas of the muscle at the side of each eye, while five injections are done on the forehead muscles.

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