More Than Your Good Looks: Serious Medical Conditions Doctors Use Botox to Treat

While many people think of wrinkles and anti-aging treatment when they hear the word “Botox,” there are a surprising number of serious medical conditions that can actually be treated by this drug. From the embarrassing to the painful, this surprising powerhouse can be used to improve lives in a variety of different ways.

More Than Your Good Looks: Serious Medical Conditions Doctors Use Botox to Treat

Botox

First of all, what exactly is Botox? The full name is Botulinum toxin, and it is produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. Its main effect is that it causes flaccid paralysis, which may sound frightening. However, this effect can be very medically useful in a controlled amount and situation. There are several types of this toxin, and while all are naturally very poisonous, types A and B can be used medicinally for many purposes, both medicinal and cosmetic.

Migraines

In fact, it is the aforementioned controlled paralysis that makes it so useful in fighting migraines, especially chronic ones. Botox prevents nerve endings in the injected area from releasing chemicals associated with pain, which blocks the message to the brain that it is supposed to feel pain. Because of this, migraine pain doesn’t register. Though this effect was discovered accidentally, it has been a huge help to migraine sufferers seeking relief.

Hemorrhoids

As painful as headaches can be, hemorrhoids are painful in a different—and more embarrassing—area entirely. Even after surgery to remove the actual hemorrhoids, that area can remain in pain while healing, and every time the muscles spasm or contract it can cause extreme discomfort. That is where Botox comes in. Just like it relaxes facial muscles, it also relaxes internal sphincter muscles, relieving pain and assisting in healing.

Hyperhidrosis

Another embarrassing condition that Botox helps to alleviate is excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis. Botox injections in the offending site—armpits, palms of the hands or feet, or anywhere else—can provide relief. They do this by blocking nerve signals that control the sweat glands. This can help treat a problem that is both socially and professionally awkward. The treatment can last several months before wearing off.

Those are just a few of the ways that Botox can be used to improve quality of life. It can also help with acne, with TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder), and even for certain muscle disorders. Though it may have a reputation as primarily a cosmetic treatment, that is far from the truth. In reality, this powerful drug is used across the medical field in many different ways to treat many different disorders.

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