From migraines to stroke patients to bladder spasms, who knew Botox could be used for more than just erasing wrinkles?
As a woman in her 20s, I can’t deny I’ve thought about getting Botox. I’ve yet to follow through with it (I’m scared of needles), but the idea has definitely crossed my mind — especially with my very first wrinkle slowly appearing on my forehead. Oh, the consequences of having an overly expressive face.
Botox, as we commonly know it, is injected with a needle in the glabella (region between eyebrows), forehead, outer corners of eyes (crow’s feet), mid-chin and neck. The procedure temporarily relaxes the facial muscles which is how it diminishes wrinkles. It can for a few months span reduce facial lines and, some doctors say, keep new ones from forming. The injectable is quickly becoming the ruler of the anti-aging industry and the must-do procedure for all who are serious about combatting collagen breakdown. While it’s taking the cosmetic industry by storm, it also has other surprising ways in which it can be used.
Recently John Mayer made headlines for having it injected into his vocal chords to paralyze them and help them heal properly — but it was the human eye that actually took the first prick. In 1989, Botox was first approved by the FDA to treat crossed eyes and uncontrollable eye blinking (strabismus and blepharospasm). It wasn’t until 2002 that it was approved to be used for cosmetic purposes.
While erasing wrinkles may be the most popular way to use Botox, which has a 66 percent Worth It rating on RealSelf, it’s just the cherry on top of a very large sundae. Scroll down to read the list of what else Botox can be used for — approved and not approved by the U.S. Federal and Drug Administration.
#1 Migraines (FDA Approved)
For those who suffer from chronic migraines, relief may just be an injection away.
“To treat chronic migraines, Botox is given approximately every 12 weeks as multiple injections around the head and neck to try to dull future headache symptoms. Botox has not been shown to work for the treatment of migraine headaches that occur 14 days or less per month, or for other forms of headache. It is important that patients discuss with their physician whether Botox is appropriate for them,” states the FDA.
#2 Overactive Sweating In The Armpits (hyperhidrosis, FDA Approved)
Overactive sweating is a condition that is unfortunately way out of a deodorant’s league. Doctors are turning to Botox for those who can’t keep it under control, which can help reduce sweating up to six months.
“We’re injecting it into the skin, it’s blocking the part of our nervous system that controls sweating. It’s basically shutting down the sweating response,” Dr. Narin Apisarnthanarax says. “It takes about 25 injection points in each underarm to cover the area.”
#3 Overactive Sweating In The Palms and Soles (Not FDA Approved)
Unfortunately for those with sweaty hands and feet — the procedure isn’t as easy as an underarm prick.
“It’s more off label and it’s more difficult to do,” Dr. Apisarnthanarax says. “For people with sweaty palms and sweaty hands, it also can be used in those areas. It’s a more difficult process to do though because it’s a more sensitive area. I can’t say I do it too often because it’s such a painful procedure.”
#4 TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle disorder, Not FDA Approved)
As a victim of TMJ, I was surprised to learn that Botox can relieve the pain – and provide an additional cosmetic benefit. Two for the price of one almost sounds too good to be true.
“I do that quite a bit. It’s injected into the masseter muscles, which are the large muscles at the angle of the jaw which is usually what’s involved in the TMJ pain when those muscles get too overactive and patients grind their teeth,” Dr. Apisarnthanarax says. “Botox injected in that area accomplishes two things: It slims down the face, so it can enhance the profile of a person’s face, and it helps you not grind your teeth and night — and it relieves the pain.”
#5 Strokes (FDA Approved if diagnosed with upper limb spasticity)
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 795,000 people suffer from a stroke each year in the U.S. The effects after an attack can be debilitating, but thanks to a quick Botox injection, can sometimes be easily be controlled. If a patient has upper limb spasticity, Botox can be used.
“Patients whose muscles tend to tighten up because they were affected by the stroke, the Botox is often used to reduce those spasms,” Dr. Apisarnthanarax says.
#6 Fixing A Turkey Neck (Not FDA Approved)
If you’re finding that as time passes, your neck gradually looks more and more like a turkey’s, Botox might be something to look into.
#7 Contouring the Jaw Line (Not FDA Approved)
Women and men who are unhappy with their jaw lines, specifically for those who have square jaws, don’t have to consider an invasive procedure as their only fix.
“We inject it (Botox) into the masseter muscle, the muscle used for chewing, and it relaxes the jaw line,” Dr. Katz says.
#8 Bladder Spasms (Incontinence FDA Approved)
For those with an uncontrollable (and embarrassing) bladder situation, Botox could be the solution you’ve been looking for.
“Painful involuntary spasms of the bladder can be helped with Botox injections,” writes Dr. Steven Weiner on RealSelf. “This is a form of incontinence and is easily treated with bladder injections with Botox.”
#9 Scarring (Not FDA Approved)
Scarring is a legitimate and big concern for many who undergo an invasive procedure, but one doctor says Botox can help put those worries at bay.
“Botox may become a routine part of many operations. To ensure a nicer healing scar, Botox injected into the area of the incision can relax the muscles in the area causing less tension. As the incision heals with less tension, the scar will not be pulled apart and result in a smaller and nicer appearance,” writes Dr. Steven Weiner.
#10 Crossed Eyes & Uncontrollable Blinking (FDA Approved)
In the 1960s, Dr. Alan B. Scott, of the Smith‐Kettlewell Eye Research Foundation in San Francisco, initiated research and tests on Botox to see if it could heal cross-eyes in addition to uncontrollable blinking. Today it’s one of its main uses, however one doctor on RealSelf says its consequences can be severe if it’s not done by an optamologist.
“However, there is a risk of the Botox getting into the muscles around the eyes. If this happens, your vision may be altered, but it will only last about three months until the Botox effect resolves,” writers Jeffrey E. Schreiber, MD, FACS.
While most of these are not approved by the FDA, Dr. Katz clarified that doesn’t mean your doctor can’t perform it.
“If it has approval for one indication, we can use it for other indications where it has not been approved,” Dr. Katz says.
So there you have it, Botox isn’t just a frilly cosmetic injection after all!
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