What is Botox used for?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
While Botox is famous for smoothing out frown lines and crow's feet, its power to temporarily paralyze muscles helps more than wrinkles. It's become a terrific trouble-shooter for problems that make life miserable. On the list: migraines, sweaty armpits, twitching fingers, leaking urine, and enlarged prostates.

Yes, Botox injections have to be repeated (typically once or twice a year), and sometimes in places that may give you the willies (armpits, bladder). But the shots are way faster, easier, cheaper and safer than surgery, which has often been the only treatment when treatment exists.

The newest Botox accomplishment is taming overactive bladders in people who can't stop leaking urine. Botox also helps:
  • Nonstop sweating. If your underarms never stop dripping (called hyperhidrosis), Botox injections every 6 to 12 months will turn off the tap.
  • Chronic migraines. Botox prevents many of these painful, persistent headaches in certain patients, and also eases the kind that feel as if your head is caught in a vise or your eyes are popping out of your head.
  • Enlarged prostate. Botox is looking like a good alternative to surgery for this common male complaint, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
  • Muscles spasms in your elbows, wrists and fingers. These are another maddening, hard-to-treat problem that Botox eases.
Joseph Ajaka

Botox has a variety of uses, both for therapeutic use and cosmetic use.

Therapeutically it has been used for treatment for:

  • Chronic Migraines
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Muscle Spasms (successfully treating muscle spasticity in patients with cerebral palsy)
  • Cross-Eyed Children  

The main use of Botox in cosmetic purposes is for a reduction in wrinkles, specifically in the upper third of your face. (i.e., frown lines, laugh Lines and smile lines).

Botox is also very effective for depressed corners of the mouth, treating neck bands, gummy smile and softening jawline muscles to name a few.

From its original intention, the list of Botox uses has grown considerably over the years, with its therapeutic uses continuing to grow and proving to be more popular than ever.

More recently, the FDA have approved Botox to treat incontinence in patients with neurological conditions like spinal cord injury and MS where over activity of the bladder is common. By injecting Botox directly into the bladder, patients are given more muscle control and as a result, less incontinence.

Current research is being put into Botox for weight loss. Effectively, Botox is injected into the stomach walls, slowing down the process of stomach contraction, thus taking longer for food to digest and patients feeling fuller for longer.

In a world first, early research is being carried out in Australia for applications of Botox on Asthma sufferers. Botox is being injected into the voice box muscle of trial patients in an attempt to get rid of the bad habits that have caused the Voice box to become dysfunctional, and start again. Early results are proving to be very promising.

Continue Learning about Muscoloskeletal Agent

What should I know before taking teriflunomide?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Your doctor will need to do liver function tests and check your blood pressure before you start trea...
More Answers
What are the side effects of baclofen?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Side effects may include drowsiness, dizziness, general weakness, and fatigue. Baclofen can make it ...
More Answers
Can Botox affect my emotional reactions?
Scientists believe that facial expressions may influence our emotions, meaning that those whose face...
More Answers
What are the side effects of leflunomide?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Side effects may include high blood pressure, dizziness, hair loss, respiratory tract infections, br...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.