How does botox work

Botox

What is botox?

Botox is the common name for botulinum toxin. This neurotoxin is secreted by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and causes what is known as botulism. These symptoms of poisoning are mostly caused by the consumption of poorly preserved food (such as cans) in which the toxin of the bacteria has accumulated. It triggers symptoms of paralysis, including the heart and respiratory muscles, which can lead to death. Botulism used to cause many deaths. Nowadays one can treat the patients with antidotes (antisera).

The name Botox is now used as a synonym for various products with botulinum toxin. It is actually a protected brand name of a manufacturer.

What does botox do in the body?

In order to excite a muscle, the associated nerve releases the transmitter substance acetylcholine. This causes the muscle to contract (contraction).

The effect of Botox is based on an irreversible inhibition of the release of acetylcholine. As a result, the muscles cannot contract, and paralysis results.

When to use botox

In Germany, botulinum toxin A is mainly used - one of seven serotypes of botulinum toxin and the one with the strongest and longest effect. On the one hand, the toxin is used in aesthetic medicine to smooth out wrinkles.

On the other hand, botulinum toxin is mainly used in neurology: frequent areas of application are movement disorders (dystonia) in which involuntary and abnormal muscle movements occur, such as the torticollis. Botox treatment has also proven effective for eyelid spasm (blepharospasm).

Botox also works against sweating: It prevents increased perspiration (hyperhidrosis). In addition, Botox is used against migraines, but may only be injected in chronic cases.

Other areas of application are different forms of tremor (muscle tremors), cramps (spasticity), strabismus (strabismus), anal fissures and many others.

What does a botox treatment do?

Botox treatment consists of injecting the nerve toxin after disinfecting the affected area of ​​the skin. No anesthesia is required for this, and the patient usually does not have to come to the procedure on an empty stomach. Before the doctor injects the poison, he asks about the medical history and explains the possible complications and risks of the treatment to the patient.

Botox against movement disorders

When treating movement disorders, cramps or tremors, the doctor injects botulinum toxin into the muscle that is to be paralyzed. Depending on the extent of the disease, several muscles may need to be treated. The doctor must ensure that a certain total dose is not exceeded.

Botox against wrinkles

With the help of Botox, a contraction of the muscles is prevented, which is supposed to smooth expression lines. Many people opt for botox, especially to smooth out frown lines in the forehead area. Lips cannot be enlarged with the bacterial poison - this is a widespread fallacy. The poison is only sometimes injected around the mouth (never into the lips themselves) to reduce annoying wrinkles.

Botox against sweating

Botulinum toxin A therapy is one of the most effective treatments for excessive sweating. Because the poison inhibits the release of acetylcholine from the nerve cells, the sweat glands are no longer stimulated to activity - the patient sweats less. The same principle can help with increased salivation. The effects of the poison wear off after about six months when new nerves grow into the glands.

Botox for migraines

To treat chronic migraines, the doctor injects the botulinum toxin in at least 31 places in the head, neck and shoulder muscles. Muscular relaxation and other anti-inflammatory processes can alleviate symptoms and prevent further migraine attacks.

How long does the botox effect last?

An exact prediction of how long the Botox effect will last cannot generally be made because the poison is broken down at different rates. In addition, in rare cases the body makes antibodies against it, which means that it is broken down more quickly.

What are the risks of botox?

Side effects are rare with Botox treatment. The injection can cause redness, swelling and bruising (bruising) at the injection sites. In addition, the injection often causes mildly burning pain.

Too high a dose of botulinum toxin can result in swallowing disorders, dry mouth, headaches, nausea or severe facial restrictions. If the poison gets into the bloodstream, an antiserum must be given immediately. Until it takes effect, the patient must be ventilated because the toxin paralyzes the respiratory muscles.

What do you have to consider during a Botox treatment?

In most cases, botox injection therapy can be carried out without any problems. However, the procedure must not be used in neuromuscular diseases such as myasthenia gravis, Lambert-Eaton syndrome or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). There are also other contraindications to Botox: pregnancy, breastfeeding and allergies to the bacterial toxin or one of the other components of the injection solution.

Join after the treatment Botox If you feel unwell or feel weak, a doctor should be consulted immediately.

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