Getting Botox While Breastfeeding: Is It Safe?

Botox is the top non-surgical cosmetic procedure in the world. It can reduce facial wrinkles to keep us looking younger and feeling better about ourselves. However, it also has medical applications, such as the treatment of migraines and hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). Since it is popular among women of childbearing age, it is vital to know if it is safe during breastfeeding.

Key takeaways:
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    Botox is a neuromodulator that relaxes muscles to improve the appearance of wrinkles.
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    Botox has also been used to treat medical conditions, such as hyperhidrosis, overactive bladder, migraines, and muscle spasms in the neck.
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    Botox and filler treatments are not recommended during breastfeeding.
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    If you receive Botox for medical conditions and are breastfeeding, you must discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
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    Glycolic acid peels, facials, some laser and light treatments, and topical anti-aging creams are safer alternatives to Botox to treat wrinkles while breastfeeding.

What is Botox?

Botox is a prescription medication manufactured from a protein derived from a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. It was originally studied to treat certain eye conditions over 20 years ago. While treating these eye conditions, doctors discovered Botox's cosmetic applications. Since then, it has become a household word.

The protein used in Botox is a neuromodulator that stops muscles from moving. It relaxes muscles in the face to improve facial wrinkles. If muscles cannot move, they cannot create wrinkles. In addition to treating certain eye conditions, it is also FDA-approved to treat other medical conditions, such as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), migraine headaches, neck pain and spasms, and overactive bladder.

Why would you need Botox?

Botox is well known for effectively treating wrinkles on the face, such as frown lines and crow's feet. What many forget is that Botox treats many medical conditions too. So while cosmetic Botox treatments during breastfeeding are not critical, some medical conditions may be. Oftentimes, patients may not be able to use traditional pills and medications to treat their medical conditions. Botox may be the only treatment that helps. In these cases, sometimes the benefits of Botox treatment outweigh the risks, and your doctor will continue your Botox treatments. If you receive Botox for medical conditions and you are breastfeeding, you must discuss treatment alternatives and risks with your doctor. Once your doctor explains the risks, this decision is up to you and your doctor.

Can you get Botox while breastfeeding?

It is not recommended to receive Botox while breastfeeding. There is a chance it could be transmitted through breast milk and cause harm to the baby by causing botulism. Botulism is a deadly disease caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. It leads to muscle weakness and death.

Some believe the Botox molecule may be too large to cross the placenta and may not be transmitted in breast milk from the mother. However, there have been reports of Botox traveling through the body to areas beyond where it was injected. Studies have shown that if Botox is injected properly in the correct dose, it will not enter the bloodstream.

Unfortunately, there are no studies testing Botox on breastfed babies to confirm or refute this. Because of the ethical issues surrounding research on breastfeeding babies, there are unlikely to be any studies performed in the future. It is best to be cautious and wait until after you are done breastfeeding to get your Botox.

Can you get fillers while breastfeeding?

Most injectors do not recommend fillers while breastfeeding. There are no studies to confirm or refute the safety. According to the FDA, the safety of receiving fillers while breastfeeding is unknown. As always, it is better to be cautious and wait until after you are done breastfeeding before getting fillers to ensure the safety of your baby. Because fillers are elective cosmetic procedures and there is no dire medical need to receive fillers, it is best to avoid them during breastfeeding.

Are there any Botox side effects while breastfeeding?

Botox has been used for over 20 years and is considered safe for most patients. However, there are no studies on the effects of Botox during breastfeeding. There are anecdotal reports of women accidentally receiving Botox while breastfeeding with no consequences.

The most common side effects of Botox in non-breastfeeding women are mild and include temporary bruising, swelling, and redness at the injection site. Always discuss this and any drug with your doctor to ensure it is safe for you. It has a few rare but severe side effects. Rare side effects include allergic reactions, droopy eyelids, inability to swallow, blurred vision, and difficulty breathing.

Botox alternatives

There are no true alternatives to Botox and neuromodulators for the treatment of facial wrinkles. However, some treatments can help improve the appearance of your skin and are safe during breastfeeding. Glycolic acid peels can help fade fine lines and wrinkles while brightening and smoothing your skin. Some lasers and light treatments can rejuvenate the skin and give you radiant skin. Regular facials can give you a glowing complexion. Certain topical anti-aging ingredients that can help your skin and are considered safe during breastfeeding include niacinamide, azelaic acid, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C.

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