When you think of Botox, you probably think of women who go to their doctors to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. While this is, in fact, the number one most common use of Botox, it can have a tremendous impact on lives in several unique ways. Here are five of the most surprising uses of Botox in the medical world.
#1 – Eye Spasms
Believe it or not, those little ticks you feel in your eyebrows and eyelids never go away for some people. In fact, some have dealt with eye spasms of some sort for years, learning how to deal with it the best they can. While Botox is for aging these days, it was first approved by the FDA back in 1989 for the treatment of eyelid spasms and other problems related to eye muscles.
#2 – Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis is a condition marked by excessive sweating, and it is more common than you might think. Clinical strength antiperspirants exist for this very reason. People use them in hopes of keeping wetness at bay, but for many, none of these products truly treat their condition. Botox can be injected into sweat glands, which are just below the skin, to essentially block sweat. It interrupts signals in the nerves that tell the sweat glands to act. These injections must be repeated every six months or so to remain effective.
#3 – Migraine Pain
Migraines plague millions of people around the world, and those who have chronic migraines know just how debilitating they can be. In 2013, after a very successful clinical trial, the FDA approved the use of Botox injections in seven locations on the head, neck, and shoulders to treat migraines. For some patients, Botox once or twice a year prevents the majority of their migraines, and those they still experience are significantly less severe.
#4 – Overactive Bladder
Botox is even indicated for relief from overactive bladder symptoms, which can cause disruptions to your everyday life. If you develop a strong urge to urinate out of nowhere, you feel you need to urinate right away, and you experience this feeling multiple times throughout the day, there’s a good chance you have an overactive bladder. Botox can help treat both this condition and minor cases of urine incontinence in people age 18 or older.
#5 – Depression (Off-Label)
Right now, Botox is not approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression, but clinical trials are promising. A group of researchers in Germany, led by Tillman Kruger, found that the facial muscles correlate directly to mental wellbeing. As such, at a 2014 press conference held by the American Psychiatric Association, he claimed that using Botox to alleviate frowning and other similar facial expressions sends a signal to the brain to interrupt the cycle of negative emotions.
Botox injections have other benefits, too, and some of these are still being studied. Evidence suggests Botox may lessen the severity of TMJ syndrome, provide an affordable alternative to the eyebrow lift, and even relieve chronic pain in the neck and cervical muscles.