Botox – Benefits, Safety & Side-effects

Your body muscles work perfectly well when they contract and retract, allowing you to undertake various activities including walking and running amongst other activities. In doing so, the muscles receive the necessary signal from your brain, prompting you to undertake the necessary activity and your muscles play a vital role in this. You may however have a condition in which your muscles fail to receive any signal from the brain and therefore fail to contract. This means that the muscles affected will no longer be able to work as is required and will hinder you from undertaking some activities. This condition is usually caused by ingestion of clostridium botulinum bacteria, which produce botulinum toxin substance that blocks necessary signals from reaching the muscles to enable them contract. This condition can be treated with Botox, the registered trade name for botulinum toxin A.

Apart from Clostridium botulinum bacteria, other bacteria that produce botulinum toxic substances are C. butyricum, C. Argentinense and C. baratii. This bacterium can be found at home on the floor, carpet and other places within a house. Studies have also established the presence of this bacterium in honey. Generally, these bacteria thrive in unhygienic grounds, producing millions of spores that can land on food if not covered. You can ingest the bacteria through food infected with the bacteria or food that has not been cooked properly. However, ingesting bacteria contaminated food does not necessary mean that you will have muscle problems. The bacteria spores have to grow within you and produce the toxic substance for your muscles to be affected. In most cases, your body’s defense mechanism will destroy the spores and hence prevent bacteria growth. It is therefore important to have a healthy and strong immune system.

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Although several groups of botulinum toxins have been identified (from A to G), botulinum toxin A has been identified to be the most lethal. The toxin is in fact feared as a potential bio-terror weapon. To destroy the bacteria, you need to refrigerate your food below 3 degrees centigrade and thoroughly cook your food. The bacterium is also highly susceptible to highly acidic environment (such as your digestive system), low pH levels and high salt levels.

Benefits of Botox

Although highly toxic, botulinum toxic A was discovered in 1928 to have both cosmetic and therapeutic importance. The US Food and Drug Administration authority only came to approve the use of botulinum injection treatment in 1980, although with precautions.

  • Cosmetic use – Botulinum toxic A is widely used in eradicating wrinkles and frown lines. Most celebrities prefer to receive botulinum injections rather than go for highly invasive surgery procedures to rid skin defects.
  • Medical use – Botulinum toxic A is used in the treatment of muscle pain, muscle spasms, asthma condition, motor neuron syndrome, excessive sweating, anal fissures, vaginismus, diabetic neuropathy, chronic wound, excessive salivation, cervical dystonia and chronic migraine.

Side Effects of Botox

Receiving botulinum injection produces various botox side effects that include allergic reactions, paralysis (in case wrong muscles are injected), headache, flu-like symptoms and dry mouth. When you receive the treatment cosmetically, you may experience drooping eyelids, uneven smile and double vision. These side effects however fade away with time. It is not however dangerous to receive either botulinum injection or cosmetic treatment when pregnant. It is important to note that Botox has been linked to some serious health problems including respiratory failure, breathing problems, speech disorders and death. This is due to its capability to affect other body organs far from targeted botox treatment area.

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Botox is presently manufactured by various drug-manufacturing companies in the USA, Canada, China and South Korea amongst other countries. It is available as Botox, Myobloc and Neurobloc amongst other trade names.

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