Everyone has heard about Botox, by now, but does everyone who is considering Botox know what to ask before having a procedure? Before undergoing any medical procedure it is a good idea to have realistic expectations for the outcome. It makes things a lot easier for both the medical professional and the patient. So what’s this Botox thing all about? It blocks nerves in muscles to improve conditions from facial wrinkles to migraines to incontinence. Here are some things about Botox that you ought to know.

1. Is Botox safe?

Many people have used Botox with no problems. There is risk involved, however. Botox comes from the bacteria that cause botulism, and it is made with donated human plasma. This means that it is possible for it to transmit disease.

2. Is it a permanent solution?

Botox does not permanently relieve migraines, incontinence, muscle spasms, excessive underarm sweating, or other conditions. Typically, the effects of injection will last for about 3 months.

3. Where can you get Botox?

Botox should only be administered by a trained medical professional, even if it is being used cosmetically. It is most often done as an outpatient procedure or in a medical facility.

4. How do you choose a provider?

Shop around, ask for recommendations, and talk to previous patients. Meet with providers before having a procedure done and ask questions and look at their portfolio of work.

5. How often can you use botox?

It is typically given in 3-month intervals. You can put yourself at serious risk by using this medication more often than prescribed. Increased frequency does not increase effectiveness.

6. Does it hurt?

Because it is an injection, yes, it does hurt. It may not be extremely painful, but if you have nerve endings at the injection site, you’re going to feel it.

7. How much does it cost?

It can cost a couple hundred to a couple of thousand dollars. It depends on how many units your condition requires.

8. What are the side effects?

Call a doctor immediately if you have an allergic reaction to this medication, including hives, difficulty breathing, swelling, etc. Other side effects requiring immediate attention include drooping eyelids, loss of bladder control, changes in vision, unusual or severe muscle weakness, and chest pain. More common side effects include pain, redness, bruising, or swelling at the injection site, dry mouth, muscle stiffness, increased perspiration, headache, and fatigue.

9. What about recovery?

Recovery time ranges from a few hours to a full day. Most people can go right back to normal activity, as long as it doesn’t risk moving the Botox around, like strenuous workouts, massages, and straining. Bruising, swelling, and redness don’t usually last too long.

10. Are there any drug interactions?

Taking muscle relaxants, cold and allergy medications, blood thinners, and sleep medication while using Botox can be problematic, so talk to your doctor about any medications or supplements you may be taking.

Remember that all Botox is not created equal and that providers have different levels of skill when it comes to placing injections. More skilled professionals often charge higher prices for their skill, precision, and high-quality results. Take your time making a decision and don’t be afraid to ask questions.