Happy Birthday Botox
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Happy Birthday Botox: It's 20 years old and it does much more than just smooth celebrity wrinkles

By BONNIE ESTRIDGE - More by this author » Last updated at 23:07pm on 12th April 2008
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Last year alone, 55,000 Botox injections were given in Britain. Besides its cosmetic uses, the drug's muscle-freezing power has transformed the lives of many people with serious medical conditions.
Here, some tell how the simple procedure has given them a new lease of life.

Tess Craig, 42: Botox banished her crippling migraines

TESS CRAIG, 42, is a property developer. She is single and lives in Wimbledon, South-West London. She birthday_botox_girl.jpgsays:

I started having the most terrible headaches a couple of years ago, completely out of the blue.

Growing pressure in my forehead and behind my eyes made me feel as if my eyeballs would pop out.

It was very frightening. I couldn't stand the light and just wanted to be in a dark room.

The next few days I stayed in bed and took the strongest painkillers I could get my hands on, but nothing worked. I called a friend who is a nurse and she sent me to hospital.

By this time, I was convinced I had a brain tumour.

Thankfully, a CT scan showed that it was cluster migraines - so-called because of the headache's pattern of clusters - in terms of both the number of headaches per day and the number of days an attack lasts.

I had another attack about six months later. Like the first one, the headaches lasted for a week. I was in such agony I couldn't do anything.

When my nurse friend suggested I try Botox, I laughed.

I'd been toying with the idea of having some for my frown lines, but I was amazed when she said she knew patients whose migraine attacks had been stopped by the injections.

As soon as I felt the next attack coming on I made an emergency appointment with adoctor who was a member of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors
He injected Botox into the glabella muscles between my eyes and around my forehead.

He said the Botox would take two or three days to kick in. The pain became less and less and then went completely on the third day.

Now I don't wait to be in pain, I go for injections every four months to pre-empt the migraines. I've spent £1,800, about £300 a time.

Thankfully, this works and I haven't had headaches for ages.

A fantastic side-effect is the cosmetic benefit - so no more migraines and no more wrinkles.

Marcus Bentley, 34: Botox stopped his embarrassing sweating

MARCUS BENTLEY, 34, is a marketing manager. He is single and lives in Bloomsbury, Central London. He says:

birthday_botox_axillae.jpgI never had a problem with excess sweating before I spent a year working in Singapore four years ago.

Once there, I found that my shirts were dripping and my hairline perspiring so much that I could hardly see as sweat was running into my eyes.

I put it down to the hot climate. It was hardly surprising, as the heat and humidity were overpowering.

No anti-perspirants worked and I was constantly changing shirts and mopping my brow.

When I returned to the UK three years ago I was horrified that nothing changed - it could be a cold day and I'd still be in the same state of perspiring that I'd been in Singapore.

I read a magazine article about Botox being used for excessive sweating - I'd previously only heard women talking about it for getting rid of wrinkles.

But considering the only other option was surgery to remove the sweat glands, it sounded a preferable option.

It wasn't possible to have Botox for excessive sweating on the NHS, so I booked an appointment privately.

The doctor said that I had a condition known as hyperhidrosis - overactivity of one type of sweat gland called the eccrine gland.

Botox blocks the actions of the nerves that supply these glands and prevents them from producing sweat.

The doctor painted each of my armpits plus my hairline with iodine and then he put corn starch on top.

The corn starch binds with the iodine only where the over-active sweat glands are located, making them go darker so the doctor can see where to inject.

He then injected about 30 times into each armpit and all along my hairline.

I felt a sensation similar to sharp stinging - rather unpleasant but only transitory.

For the first few days I was still sweating and thought I'd wasted my money.

But the effect suddenly kicked in - my armpits were pretty much dry, my forehead totally so.

I find the effects last from eight months to a year and as soon as I feel the sweat starting up again I go back for more Botox.

The only disadvantage is the price - £500 a session as you need so many injections. I've spent £2,500 so far - but it's been worth it.

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