Botulinum Toxin

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Botulinum toxin is a protein produced by a certain type of bacteria (Clostridium botulinum). It is the same toxin that can cause a type of food poisoning (botulism) if a person gets too much in his or her system.

Botox shots may be used to treat a wide range of problems, such as:

  • Removing facial wrinkles.
  • Preventing underarm sweating in people who sweat too much.
  • Relaxing muscles that cause spasms in the eyelids or the esophagus.
  • Treating chronic migraine headaches.
  • Reducing urinary incontinence.

The effect usually wears off within a few months. When Botox is injected in small amounts into muscles, it doesn't get into a person's blood or cause sickness.

Current as of: March 12, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Keith A. Denkler, MD - Plastic Surgery