You may know about Botox® from its reputation for erasing facial wrinkles. But it was used for a variety of medical conditions long before it became a popular cosmetic treatment. The team at Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates in Fairfax and Reston, Virginia, recommends Botox for several gastrointestinal conditions when the problem doesn’t improve with conservative therapies. To learn how Botox might help you, call the nearest office today to schedule an appointment.
Botox is an injectable medication made from the botulinum toxin. When a provider at Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates injects Botox, it stops the nerve signals that trigger muscle contractions, which relaxes the muscles. This treatment relieves the symptoms of several gastrointestinal conditions.
Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates may recommend Botox to treat esophageal achalasia, diffuse esophageal spasms, and gastroparesis:
Achalasia occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) doesn’t work properly. The LES normally opens to let the things you consume get into your stomach.
If you have achalasia, the LES doesn’t relax or open normally. As a result, you develop symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, regurgitation, chest pain, and heartburn.
Your esophagus is lined with smooth muscles that push food down toward your stomach. To do their job, these muscles must contract in a coordinated fashion. Diffuse esophageal spasms disrupt the process.
Along with the feeling of food being stuck in your esophagus, this condition causes severe chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and heartburn.
When the muscles in your stomach don’t have their normal strength or coordination, they can’t move food through your stomach at the normal pace. This condition is called gastroparesis.
The symptoms of gastroparesis include:
Botox relieves gastroparesis by relaxing the pylorus muscle that holds food in your stomach.
Your provider may use Botox to treat an anal fissure, which is a tear in the tissues lining the anal canal. Fissures are often treated by cutting the anal sphincter, the round muscle that controls bowel movements. Botox gives you another option by relaxing the muscle long enough to let the fissure heal.
When treating the LES or pylorus muscles, your provider at Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates injects Botox using an endoscope. This device consists of a narrow, flexible tube that they guide through your mouth and into your esophagus or stomach. When treating an anal fissure, they use a fine needle to inject Botox into the sphincter.
It takes a little time for Botox to work, but you should start to feel the results within two weeks, with maximum results by four weeks. Your results should last several months, and then you can get another treatment if needed.
To learn if a Botox injection can relieve your symptoms, call the nearest Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates office today.