Before the Needle Although many people have heard about Botox, few people know what it actually is. So, what are Botox injections? Many people would be surprised to learn that it actually is a drug derived from a neurotoxin created by a specific bacterium, the Clostridium botulinum. This is the same toxin that causes botulism, a life-threatening form of food poisoning. When ingested in its natural form, Botox can cause paralysis that spreads through the body until it eventually works its way to the breathing muscles, causing respiratory failure. This is why it is important to educate yourself before considering Botox injections. Why Do People Get Botox? Although this is a toxin, it is safe to use in small doses for medical use. Doctors often use the substance cosmetically. It is probably best known as an anti-wrinkle agent used to treat fine lines and signs of aging. Most commonly, it is used to treat wrinkles in the neck or face. Some people also get Botox injections to minimize their forehead lines. [youmaylike] In addition to smoothing skin to give it a more youthful appearance, it serves other medical purposes. Some patients use it to treat severe underarm sweating, migraines, uncontrollable blinking, overactive bladder and strabismus (misaligned eyes). How Does Botox Work? Botox causes paralysis. While this can be fatal in large, targeted doses, it is the property that helps with treatment. It acts locally, upon the injection site where it will weaken or paralyze targeted muscles. This is done as the neurotoxin attaches to nerve ending and blocks impulses from coming through. Instead of contracting as normal, the injected tissues will remain relatively frozen. Reducing the pulling of the skin is what makes the skin look more youthful. This signal-blocking property is also assisted with the other medical applications of Botox. It is important to realize that these are not the same as a filler. How Long Does Botox Last? The effects of Botox do not last forever. After a while, the signals will begin to pass through again. Procedures are expected to have a visual effect that lasts three to six months. Botox will not lose its effect overnight. Rather, you will experience a gradual decline in results as the muscles slowly regain their movement. The effects of your first session will wear off faster than the later sessions. Your first session is expected to last around three months where the later sessions will gradually last up to six months. Is Botox Safe? Under controlled medical environments, Botox injection procedures are considered low-risk. Most procedures are carried out safely and effectively with little side effects. The side effects one does experience are normally what is expected from any sort of injection procedure. This would be some temporary redness, bleeding or bruising at the injection site. In rare cases, one may experience a headache in the first two days after the procedure or temporary drooping. With this being said, there are certain situations where you should avoid getting Botox injections. You should not undergo treatments if you: Are 65 years of age or older, or under 18 years old. Have breathing problems. Have bleeding problems. Are allergic to or have sensitivities to Botox products. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any medications or supplements you are currently taking as there may be some interactions that could be dangerous. If you immediately experience signs of an allergic reaction upon the treatment, seek medical help immediately. To reduce any of the potential complications, it is important that you thoroughly research the performing physician. You need to make sure you are going to someone who knows what they are doing and has an adequate environment to perform hygienically and legally. It is not worth the risk to seek other methods. Does Botox Hurt? Botox procedures use very tiny needles. While injections are associated with some pain, the size of the needles keeps this pain at a minimum. Botox injections are generally preceded by some sort of anesthetic treatment to numb the pain. This is often done with a topical anesthetic cream or a cold pack. Most people report minimal to no pain at all. The Cost of Botox The cost of Botox will vary greatly depending on the specifications of your procedure. Some facilities will charge you by the area covered, but more often they charge you per unit of Botox used. On average, you will pay about $20 per unit. As the average treatment is about 20 to 60 units on average, you will likely pay between $500 and $800. The number of units used in a session will vary greatly depending on the space that you want to be covered. The bigger the area, the more units you will need to pay to achieve results. When it comes to cosmetic procedures, insurance will likely not pay for any of the costs. You can talk with your insurance provider to find out if they offer financial compensation for non-cosmetic procedures.
CP and CPPS: What is It?
Chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome is a condition that affects the urinary or genital organs. The disease is an inflammation of the prostate and irritation of the nerves around it characterized by chronic pain and discomfort intervals.
The disease is poorly understood and presently has no cure. It causes erectile dysfunction, urinary and bowel problems that undermine a man’s quality of life and often lead to depression.
Symptoms and Causes of Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome
Chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome is the most common form of prostatitis. Some symptoms include:
- Pelvic pain
- Sexual dysfunction, including painful ejaculations
- Difficulty or pain passing urine, voiding challenges, or burning sensation while urinating
- Irregular intervals of pain in the bladder, testicles, and penis and up to the anus
For a person to get a CPPS diagnosis, the pelvic pain must have persisted for at least six months. While the exact cause of CPPS is unknown, doctors think either a recurring infection or inflammation of the prostate due to physical trauma may be the cause of it. The initial infection or physical trauma to the pelvic goes undetected, causing nerve damage to the genitourinary (urinary and genital organs) area. With time, the damage spreads to the bladder, ligaments, and pelvic floor muscles. If treatment is not given immediately, it results in pain sensitivity in the pelvic area.
Some risk factors of CPPS include occasions for bacteria entering your body, such as:
- A catheter or an equivalent device that’s placed in the urethra to help drain urine.
- Urinary tract disorders such as urinary tract infections (UTI) or interstitial cystitis, among others.
A CPPS diagnosis entails using a scoring matrix to eliminate other diseases and checking against any prevalent comorbidities. The tool used to score the symptom is called the International Prostate Symptom Score.
Another tool called the UNPOINT is increasingly becoming popular in the diagnosis of CPPS. The tool classifies the symptoms according to:
After the scoring, the doctor or examiner will then undertake physical examinations to assess the abdomen and external genitalia. The examiner may also perform a digital rectal examination. The digital exam will show if the prostate is tender on palpation. It also enables the doctor to examine the pelvic floor muscles and their ability to contract or relax.
Lastly, the medical examiner may want to rule out other pain-causing pathogens. The examiner may carry out additional tests such as:
- Urine dipstick test or an early morning urine specimen
- Urethral swab and culture if urethritis becomes a concern
- Uroflowmetry to calculate the flow rate of your urine
- Retrograde urethrography and a bladder scan to determine the ease at which urine flows from the bladder
- Cystoscopy to examine the lining of the bladder and exclude other causes such as a stricture
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) to help rule out the possibility of pus in the prostate
- A blood test to measure prostate-specific antigen PSA levels to rule out prostate cancer
Afterward, the examiner will check for evidence of sexual abuse and will test for depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) as comorbidity. He or she may also subject you to a self-assessment questionnaire to better understand your pain levels and mental health.
Treatment Options for CPPS
CPPS is treated using antibiotics, anti-inflammation medication, or alpha-blockers.
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections that may be the underlying cause of CPPS. However, there is some controversy around using antibiotics because doctors prescribe them even when patients do not test positive for bacterial infection.
The doctors who prescribe antibiotics without a negative test believe bacteria may be present in the prostrate's glands or stroma without entering the urinary tract.
However, antibiotics can only be used for a limited time, usually four weeks, especially for newly diagnosed patients. The antibiotics used in this case are those with non-inflammation properties.
Aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen reduce the pain men experience when dealing with chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome. However, NSAIDs are not effective by themselves and are used together with alpha-blockers.
Doctors use alpha-blockers to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) prescribed for CPPS because it relaxes the urinary tract muscles, allowing the free passing of urine. However, research shows that men newly diagnosed with CPPS are more likely to respond positively to alpha-blockers. The effectiveness of alpha-blockers diminishes after a six-month treatment course.