Not just a pretty face
Botox is well known for its cosmetic benefits, but it can also be used as a treatment for problems from cerebral palsy to migraine, writes ARLENE HARRIS
SINCE ITS launch a decade ago, Botox has become a household name. Though once the preserve of the rich and famous, this muscle-freezing treatment has become de rigueur for everyone from mega-rich celebrities to the middle class housewife.
But while Botox is renowned for its success in the world of cosmetic surgery, allowing patients a short-term solution to visible wrinkles, its other more clinical uses have only recently come to the fore.
This neurotoxic protein is now being used to treat a variety of ailments including migraine, excessive sweating, chronic pain and even long-term disorders such as cerebral palsy and prostate problems.
John Gillespie is the director of a property company in Dublin and has spent much of his adult life trying to overcome the problems associated with excessive sweating.
Working in a busy industry, he found his self-confidence suffering as a result of his condition. Having tried a variety of different treatments, he resorted to Botox injections three years ago and hasn’t looked back since.
“I have a condition known as hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating which affects my hands really badly,” says the 40 year old. “I had tried everything available on the market, including spray gels, to try to stop the sweating but nothing worked.
“I used to cringe at the end of business meetings when my palms were dripping with sweat and I had to give a handshake.
“I am normally very confident and not nervous in any environment, but due to excessive sweating, my confidence would often be shattered in certain situations.”
After suffering with the condition for years, the father-of-four heard that Botox was an effective treatment and decided to give it a go.
“I started getting injections of Botox into the palms of my hands about three years ago and the procedure has changed my life,” he says. “The Botox basically blocks the sweat – it begins to work immediately and I only need to top up every six months.
“It costs about €900 per treatment so it is expensive, but I think paying €100 per month is well worth it as feeling awkward about shaking hands is now a thing of the past.”
Eimear O’Reilly is a 32-year-old office manager from Dublin. She has been having Botox injections in her forehead for the past eight years in a bid to cure the crippling migraines which were taking over her life.
“I have been suffering from migraine all my life and it can be really horrible,” says O’Reilly.
“It builds up slowly until there is so much pain and you can hardly see for days. I was never able to plan anything in advance because I didn’t know when I would be affected – so it hugely affected my quality of life.
“When I was a child I used to attend Crumlin hospital for medication and doctors put it down to a combination of diet coupled with stress and tension.”