Monday, July 19, 2010

Is Botox for you?

Because as a people, we have been in search of the fountain of youth from the beginning of mankind, we venture high and low to find treatments and products in "reversing the ravages of time". One of the most successful so far is Botox.  I am sure everyone knows someone who has had Botox injections from one time or another, and or who is even considering it themselves. (Who hasn't looked in the mirror and actually been disheartened by the development of character lines and said,"gosh, I need a face-lift!") Although, we are not all completely convinced by the idea of injecting foreign toxins into our skin, there is much debate whether or not the long term effects of constant injections is actually beneficial or not. So, let's just look at some facts:
  • Botox is a substance which is derived from that of botulism toxin, which is the same type that causes food poisoning, however the amount used here is simply a fraction of the amount that is able to cause food poisoning; this works by preventing nerve impulses from reaching the muscle, thus causing the muscle to 'relax'.
  • Side effects include feeling sore and bruised around the area where the doctor injected the Botox, and in a minority of cases there may also be minor hemorrhaging. (There may also be some pain initially during the injections). It is possible to experience recurrent headaches or nausea in the week following the procedure, and in the worst case scenarios, people may also develop flu-like symptoms. These side effects are believed to affect less than 10 percent of those treated with Botox, with the more severe side effects being much less common.
  • Rare complications of Botox injections include ‘drooping’ or muscle weakness. The problems vary according to where the injection was administered and are mostly caused by being the dose of Botox being too great. For instance, if a high dose is injected into the crow’s feet around the eyes then the patient may have problems blinking. About 1 percent of patients having Botox treatment to correct frown lines experience drooping of the eye lid or, where injections were given above the lips, they may have uncontrollable drooling from the side of the mouth. As the results of Botox are temporary these unpleasant side effects should wear off over a period of 3 to 4 months.
  • There are a number of people who are at greater risks of complications resulting from Botox injections who should therefore avoid treatment. This includes people with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, bleeding disorders or people taking certain forms of medications. There is a lack of conclusive studies into the effects of Botox treatment on pregnant women or on breastfeeding mothers. Therefore, it is considered best to err on the side of caution and avoid treatment during this period to avoid harmful effects to the mother or child.
Although the term Botox is quite common and well-known, surprisingly then is the fact of how very few people actually know much about the details regarding and surrounding it. There are many things that need to be taken into consideration in regards to Botox, such as who can use Botox for example, and so even if you are not considering having a procedure done such as this, it is still important for you to know as much about this for your decision making in the future.

And remember, a qualified medical practitioner should always be consulted if you are considering Botox treatment. Be sure to advise them of any pre-existing medical conditions or if you are taking medication, as you may be precluded from the procedure for safety reasons. Your doctor should also thoroughly explain the risks you are undergoing so that you may weigh up the benefits against the dangers. Botox is a prescription treatment and as such is best administered by a licensed professional for your own wellbeing.

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