Botox- or to give it its true name, botulinum toxin, has been used in the cosmetics industry for a number of years now as a way to ‘mask’ the ravages of age. You already know how it does that, the tiny amounts of this deadly poison are injected into your facial muscles so that they become paralysed.
When they can’t move, they can’t make wrinkles and you look like someone who has stripped back those years of worry and confusion.
We at My Grey Nomads have no issue with people using Botox, in fact, if it makes you happy do whatever it takes to feel great about yourself. Botox your entire body if you like!!!
Speaking of that, did you know that Botox has a number of uses that are not cosmetic? In fact, the ability to paralyse certain parts of the body can be highly beneficial in a number of medical problems.
Many people suffer from, but do not like to talk about, urinary incontinence.
Whether old or young, this can be a socially debilitating condition. Stress incontinence, like peeing a little when you sneeze, can occur after having babies, but can also become more pronounced as a women enters menopause.
In men, stress incontinence is linked to issues with the prostate, and both men and women can develop it if any nerve damage in the spine, or in the pelvis has occurred. Urge incontinence, needing to use the toilet RIGHT NOW, also affects a great number of people. Medications, diabetes, muscle weakness, obesity, ageing plus a number of other factors add to the occurrence of urge incontinence. It can be embarrassing and upsetting, and often leads to depression and social isolation.
So what does Botox have to do with your water works?
Quite a lot, actually.
Botox is now a common remedy for urinary incontinence. Yes, it sounds grim and, yes, they do inject it into the wall of your bladder, but this can be done under either a general or local anesthetic and the results are fantastic. The Botox is directed at the bladder muscle (‘detrusor’), this is the muscle that controls how well your urine is being held in. If your bladder is ‘over active’ it will now respond to the urge to pee more calmly. There are no incisions required for the procedure and about 2 weeks after the injection, patients will notice a marked decrease in the frequency and urgency for the need to go to the loo. The Botox will keep working for between 4-7 months, depending on each individual. It may sound funny, having Botox ‘down there’, but for those whose lives have been greatly improved by this kind of medical technology, the relief they get from not being held captive by ‘relieving’ themselves can be nothing short of miraculous.
Botox is also used to treat people who perspire excessively under the arms and on their hands and feet. Of course, we all sweat, and sweating is a healthy way for our bodies to regulate our core body temperature ….plus it’s a great way to send out our lovely pheromones when the mood is right, but sweating too much (hyperhidrosis) is not much fun. Firstly, everyone notices, and they give you funny looks.
People who are very nervous often sweat a lot, but if you are not nervous and your armpits have become a sprinkler system, or your hands have the consistency of wet lettuce, eyebrows will be raised. Medically, having hyperhidrosis is nothing to sweat (sorry), but socially it can be a bit yuck. Even if you are fastidiously clean and otherwise healthy, soggy pits can be the pits (again, sorry), and having permanently wet hands and feet is as delightful as it sounds.
However, doctors have discovered that Botox injections can made significant improvements in the lifestyle of a hyperhidrosis sufferer. The bad news is that Botox can only be injected into places to be effective so, yes, you will need to get injections into your armpits or into your hands and feet. The hand and foot injections are particularly painful, however, as the Botox gets to work it reacts with the chemicals in our bodies that tell it to produce sweat, and about 2 weeks after a patient has received treatment, the cooling system that has made your life a misery becomes more like a gentle pray and less like a hose.
The effect lasts for up to 6 months, and often insurance companies will cover the cost of the procedure, like they will Botox for your bladder, because it is for a discernable medical benefit, not just to help you look good.
Migraine sufferers also swear by Botox as a way to cut down on the painful headaches that often see them begging for death. In fact, Botox has been used so effectively for severe migraine patients, that it was approved by the very strict FDA more than 7 years ago.
Up to 31 small injections of the toxin are given to 7 areas of the head and neck of the patient. It then goes to work interacting with the body’s own chemistry to not only relieve pain and symptoms, but to prevent the debilitating headaches from occurring in the first place. Obviously great care must be taken when injecting that much of a neurotoxin into the head and neck, and some side effects such as bruising and double vision or neck stiffness can result, however most migraine patients report a remarkable improvement in their lives for up to 3 months after getting the shots. Like the other uses for Botox listed here, Botox for migraines is often covered by insurance.
So a product that is marketed mainly for its aesthetic appeal has real world applications that are much more than skin deep.
Botoxing your whole body might not be as crazy as it sounds, but it’s worth remembering that it is a poison produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and anything with the word ‘bacteria’ or ‘botulism’ in the name can be dangerous. If you think Botox may help you in ways you hadn’t considered, go and speak to a trusted Doctor first, and never let a cosmetician inject anything into places you wouldn’t want appearing as an ‘I told you so’ warning picture on the internet.