Botox is a household name for reducing migraines and reversing the appearance of lines and wrinkles . However, side effects are something few people talk about. Some are minor; you can expect them, but some might make you think twice before trying.

Remember, we are only talking about five side effects, but there may be more. Some could have a direct correlation with underlying or unrelated diseases. Other medical conditions could be made worse by neurotoxins.

If you are interested in trying it for medical or personal reasons, we believe that you should know the main side effects of Botox before making your decision.

What is Botox?

It is an injectable neurotoxin derived from bacteria. Also, the same neurotoxin can cause botulism.

There are two common types of Botox injections , but they have the same active ingredient. One is for cosmetic use only and the other is for medical use. Doctors administer them the same way, but the injection site depends on the underlying condition they treat.

What are neurotoxins?

These substances affect your nervous system and can cause a variety of life-altering symptoms. Remember, alcohol is a neurotoxin, snake venom is too.

Children, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised immune system will be more vulnerable to the side effects of neurotoxins. There are strong links to neurotoxin exposure and neurological behavioral disorders, such as autism and ADHD.

What is botox used for?

  • Migraines
  • Cosmetics: anti-aging / anti-wrinkle
  • Neck and shoulder spasms
  • Excessive sweating
  • Lazy eye (Amblyopia)
  • Involuntary closing of the eyelids
  • Overactive bladder

How does botox work?

It blocks nerve communication at the injection site, which stops the ability to contract the muscles. When the muscles can no longer move, they give the skin a smoother, wrinkle-free appearance .

Injections can take more than five days before a patient sees or feels results. A session lasts up to four months, less or more depending on the individual and treated condition.

Who performs neurotoxin injection therapy?

Any doctor can prescribe and inject it. However, dermatologists and plastic surgeons will generally have more experience. This can reduce your chance of side effects if you choose to use therapy despite the risks.

Another factor you have to deal with is counterfeit pharmaceuticals, which happened years ago in the United States. It could happen again, so it’s another risk to consider as the doctors bought the fake drug.

5 side effects of injecting Botox

Remember that this is not a complete list. Side effects can also occur at any time. This means that your first injection may be symptom-free, but another injection may produce them.

Actual symptoms may also vary from injection to injection. You can have facial paralysis one time and flu symptoms the next.

1. Decreased facial expressions due to facial paralysis

Botox can make it difficult to laugh, smile, or display other emotions. Problems producing tears may also be present. This is because facial expressions, comments, and emotions share a common bond.

One study reports a decrease in emotional response after patients are treated with two popular neurotoxins. This included emotional experience, which means the level at which you feel real emotions. Researchers believe that this occurs because of how closely related facial expression is to human emotions.

Another way of looking at the study is to think of a time when you were really happy or excited. Your wide smile becomes contagious and you smile so hard it hurts, but pain is good. That same smile lifts your spirits and those around you.

Let’s say your coworker got some good news. She is excited, smiling widely. Your response is a blank, frozen stare. You can’t smile back and you don’t feel his joy like you should. While you may not experience zero emotions, they are certainly not normal reactions for you.

These side effects can also cause problems with negative emotions, including events that could provoke empathy, sadness, and anger. Your external reactions may not reflect internal feelings or may diminish them completely.

It’s quite possible that endorphins come into play here as well. However, when neurotoxins block that ability, you can lessen the experiences you previously felt that caused facial expressions. Keep in mind that this symptom could last four to six months.

If you are seriously considering injections for cosmetic or migraine reasons, you should consider a common alternative called acupuncture. Early research shows promise for increasing facial skin elasticity. Acupuncture can also relieve migraine pain.

Essential oil therapy, including topical application, could also be helpful with few side effects.

2. Botox can cause botulism poisoning

Doctors consider this to be a rare side effect, but it occurred long enough for the FDA to issue a warning statement. After the injection, you may have symptoms of botulism poisoning.

Scientists and doctors believe this is because the neurotoxin can travel beyond the injection site. They will recommend that you stay upright and do not massage or touch the area to prevent it from spreading.

Symptoms of botulism from botox

  • Difficulty speaking
  • Vision disruptions
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Feeling lethargic
  • Difficulty to swallow
  • Labored breathing
  • The tongue feels thick
  • Dry mouth
  • Droopy eyelids

These require immediate attention because botulism poisoning is life threatening if left untreated. Permanent paralysis can also occur.

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms may not appear right away. They can show up between six hours and 10 days later. These ailments also mimic other non-botulism side effects of botox .

Because it is a life-threatening condition with possible lifelong paralysis or death, we believe this side effect is one that you cannot ignore if you are considering injections.

Yes, sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks. That will be decided by you and your doctor. Be wary of any medical professional who lowers the possibility of botulism poisoning. Doctors and scientists are still not 100% sure how it happens.

A scarier thought is that scientists are considering genetically modifying the bacteria in hopes of reducing poisoning, but the process raises red flags.

3. Flu-like symptoms

Fever, chills, body aches, and more can occur. Symptoms can occur within hours to days after the initial injection. Flu-like symptoms can last 3 to 5 days, depending on the individual. Some cases are persistent.

Symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever
  • Shaking chills
  • Body pain
  • Respiratory tract infection
  • Headache
  • Tos
  • Throat pain

There are no risk factors outside of the injection, according to the study data. However, 55% of botox patients report flu-like symptoms to varying degrees.

4. Heart palpitations, high blood pressure

The connection remains unclear between the heart and neurotoxin injection therapy. However, many studies show patients reporting these symptoms.

More alarming is a simple web search combining the heart and neurotoxin that will lead you to real people who had the adverse effects days after receiving the injections, but their concerns and side effects were ignored by their doctor.

Using this therapy could be concerning if you already have heart-related conditions. No study data shows side effects in people with cardiovascular disease or metabolic syndromes, such as type 2 diabetes. We would also include mental illnesses, such as anxiety, which can have a strong effect on your heart.

5. Resistance to neurotoxin

A doctor will start with the lowest dose possible. After repeated sessions, you can develop endurance. This will lead your doctor to increase the amount of neurotoxin, which increases the possibility of other side effects. This includes botulism poisoning.

Resistance can occur at any time, and each person will respond differently.

Natural alternatives to treat wrinkles and pain

  • Facial exercises
  • Cupping therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Essential oils
  • Embrace your wrinkles and fine lines

Natural remedies and therapies are not without health risks. However, they are generally less severe or manageable. If you haven’t tried natural medicine to treat your condition, speak to a trained professional or naturopath. They can help you discover more options for treating your condition.

Final notes

Botox could promise great results for many medical conditions, but it is priced with higher-than-normal risks compared to natural remedies and other conventional medications. If your concerns are purely cosmetic, the side effects may not outweigh the benefits .

Our goal today was not to ignore the usefulness of neurotoxin injection therapy, but to highlight side effects that your doctor might not mention or ignore.

If you’ve exhausted all avenues and are willing to bet on side effects, botox can be effective for medical and cosmetic use. But there will be rare cases where the benefits outweigh the risks, but you need to know those risks before the injection occurs.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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