If you've ever had facial wrinkles, crows feet, or forehead furrowing, your dermatologist may have recommended botox injections. Manufactured from the neurotoxin derived from Clostridium botulinum, botox is typically used in cosmetic procedures. There are, however, a number of "off label" uses being investigated that may be beneficial for people affected by certain medical disorders. Here are three "off label" uses for botox and how they may help you overcome certain symptoms of common health conditions:
Overactive bladder can cause the frequent urge to urinate and may be caused by pregnancy, obesity, diabetes, medications, and menopause. While certain oral medications known as anticholinergics can help decrease the frequency of overactive bladder episodes, they are not always effective and may result in unpleasant side effects such as dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, and constipation.
Botox injections help overactive bladder patients by blocking the nerve impulses responsible for urinary urgency and frequency. While most people with overactive bladder know when they have to go to the bathroom, others may not, and might experience incontinence accidents, dribbling, and urinary leakage.
Fibromyalgia can cause pain and tenderness of certain trigger points in your body. Many of these trigger points are located in the shoulders, neck, elbows, hips, and knees. Fibromyalgia not only causes muscle pain but it can also cause profound fatigue, lack of energy, headaches, and depression.
Botox injections may help improve symptoms of fibromyalgia by blocking pain receptors and nerve pathways responsible for your discomfort. While fibromyalgia is most commonly seen in women, men can be affected too. In addition to botox, fibromyalgia often responds to anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen, therapeutic massage, hydrotherapy, and stress management techniques.
Dysphagia refers to difficulty swallowing that can be caused by severe acid reflux disease, stroke, or certain motility disorders. While dysphagia caused by acid reflux disease is generally treated with acid suppression medications, difficulty swallowing caused by motility disorders may not respond to these medications.
Botox injections can help people overcome dysphagia caused by motility disorders by relaxing esophageal muscle tissue and by diminishing the frequency and intensity of upper digestive spasms.
If not recognized and treated, people with dysphagia may be at heightened risk for choking and aspiration. If stomach acid and food particles are aspirated into the lungs, a bacterial infection such as pneumonia may develop.
If you have one of the above conditions that has not responded to conventional treatments, talk to your doctor about alternative methods such as botox injections. Botox is usually well tolerated by most people, and if side effects do occur after treatment, they are usually limited to mild redness and very slight irritation at the injection site.