October 2019 Newsletter

From the Desk of Dr. Balharry ....

BOTOX! So, the first thing that people think when they hear that word is – wrinkles. Certainly that is what gets the most press but that is only a small percentage of what Botox is used for. Botox is a trade name for botulinum toxin. There are other trade names in Canada – Dysport and Xeomin. They are all very similar in their effect. Botox works by chemically interfering with the ability of a nerve to ‘talk’ to a muscle making the muscle weak or inactive. After 3-4 months, the nerve pathway regrows in to the muscle and everything is back to normal. That’s why you have to retreat every 3-4 months for ongoing effect.

For this article, I want to talk about the non-cosmetic or medical uses of Botox. Many people suffer from migraine and it has been found that the injection of Botox in certain muscles of the face, scalp and neck can reduce or completely stop these headaches. This is probably the commonest medical use for Botox. A few small injections every 3-4 months can change the life of a migraine sufferer. The other benefit is that many of the anti-migraine or pain relieving medications have side effects that can interfere with daily activities. For some occupations (pilots, flight attendants, etc.) it is not possible to use pain medications when working. Fortunately for those who have frequent migraine attacks, often precipitated by our weather changes, the cost of the Botox is covered by most extended health care plans and is supported by Alberta Health Care.

Many people get headaches or dental damage from grinding or clenching. The commonest treatment for this is wearing a dental splint. This does not always solve the problem and many people find wearing them uncomfortable. A small injection of Botox in the clenching muscles can relieve this distressing condition and again, most people can get the cost covered by their health benefits plan. Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis affects many people causing distress due to wet clothing from underarm sweating as well as damage to clothing. In the hands this can make greeting awkward because of wet hands. Small injections in to the skin can stop the sweating for 6-12 months. The cost of Botox for this is nearly always covered.

Some women have a painful condition called vaginismus which is a spasm in the muscles of the pelvis. This can arise from many causes but can be helped by small injections of Botox in to the muscles of the pelvic floor. Another very painful condition is anal fissure which is a tear in the lining of the anus which resists healing, just like a crack on your lip. Injection of Botox in to the sphincter muscle of the anus will allow this area to relax and let the tear heal. There are some conditions, such as ALS, that cause the overproduction of saliva resulting in a constant drooling. This can be relieved with injection of Botox in to the saliva glands. Botox has also been used to treat painful scars and nerve pain such as trigeminal neuralgia.

So this shows how diverse the use of Botox can be. Many people are apprehensive about the effect on them. There is really no down side to the use as it does not cause any bad feeling. Also, for many of the conditions mentioned, the cost of the treatment can be covered by your health benefit plan. If you think that there is something that can be helped with this treatment, a consultation with me will allow us to decide if that is appropriate and then application can be made for cover for the Botox through your health plan. It really is that easy.


Our Skin Care Tips ...

A simple way to explain how IPL works …
What is it? IPL stands for Intense Pulse Light
What does it do? Bright flashes emit light and that energy converts to heat
What does the heat do? The heat coagulates blood vessels and shatters pigmentation
What does the body do to recover from this? Over the course of 5 to 7 days, the body absorbs the hardened vessels and the skin sheds the shattered pigmentation that comes to the surface
What results does this process achieve? Can even skin tone and also produces collagen, brightens the skin, firms the skin (therefore reducing pore size) and providing an all-over more youthful look
How often should someone get this treatment? Best results are typically achieved by getting two treatments about 6 weeks apart. Individual protocols vary; some people come in regularly (every 3 to 6 months) and some people are satisfied with a once-a-year routine
Can anybody get IPL? A consultation is required to ensure the client is a good candidate and well prepared for the procedure

Happy Skin ~ Healthy Skin!