When you hear the word Botox, you probably think of once-aging faces frozen in their expressions as they fight the effects of wrinkles and fine lines. While Botox has come a long way in wrinkle treatment, and truly skilled medical professionals don't make the face look frozen, the number of uses for the product has grown exponentially over the years. Here are 10 more surprising uses for Botox:
1. Sweaty Gym Hair
One of the newest uses of Botox aims to help women make their blowouts last longer. A blowout is the styling of hair through a wash and blow dry at a salon or in your home. By using Botox to stop the scalp's ability to sweat, hair looks as fresh after a workout as it did before.
2. Overactive Bladder
Those who suffer from constant strong urges to urinate caused by an overactive bladder know how frustrating and embarrassing it can be. Some have found relief through Botox injections, which help paralyze the muscles of the bladder.
3. Crossed Eyes (Strabismus)
Strabismus is the medical term for crossed eyes, which can affect children and adults. It can cause problems with depth perception and vision, according to Dr. Mayli Davis, a board-certified ophthalmologist and founder of Advanced Eyelid Surgery Center in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
"A push-and-pull situation between a stronger and a weaker muscle in the eye are often the cause of strabismus. The stronger muscle becomes permanently tight as a result of this, and Botox can help to relax it and give the weaker muscle a chance to catch up," said Davis.
4. Excessive Sweating
Another use for Botox that was discovered by accident is the treatment of excessive sweating. The FDA approved Botox for this use in 2004 to treat people who experience chronically sweaty hands and feet from a disorder called primary axillary hyperhidrosis.
5. Painful Sex
One of the reasons Botox works so well for so many things is its ability to relax contracted muscles. For some women, sex can be painful due to a disorder called vaginismus, which causes vaginal muscles to spasm. Many have found relief with Botox injections.
6. Jaw Pain
TMJ disorder, named for the temporomandibular joint, causes pain and fatigue in the jaw and facial muscles. Clenching and grinding teeth often accompanies this disorder, exacerbating the pain felt on a daily basis. Botox helps relax these muscles and minimize soreness, discomfort and even lock jaw in more extreme cases. It can also help with the headaches often associated with TMJ disorder.
7. Chronic Headaches and Migraines
After accidently discovering that Botox injections helped patients with their headaches and migraines, the company that makes Botox began testing the product for that purpose. In 2010 it was approved by the FDA to help those who suffer from chronic migraines, and many report finding relief for months after receiving the injections.
Botox is currently deep in clinical studies working to discover how successful it is at treating depression and why it seems to be helping. Currently, researchers believe that the connection between facial expressions and moods is the reason that 50 to 60 percent of patients in some studies have found relief from symptoms of depression, anxiety and potentially even bipolar disorder.
9. Gummy Smile
A gummy smile is a completely subjective term that applies to people who feel like too much of their gums are showing compared to teeth when they smile. In the dental field it's referred to as excessive gingival exposure and can be genetic or caused by a hyperactive upper lip. Botox can help relax the muscles of the upper lip to show less gum line when smiling.
10. Eye Spasms (Blepharospasm)
Although an occasionally twitching eye from stress or exhaustion is nothing to be concerned about, sometimes it can be the sign of a more chronic problem called blepharospasm, said Davis.
"It can become so severe that it can make it difficult to keep the eyes open at all," she said. "Blepharospasm can also cause sensitivity to bright lights, fatigue and tension."
To learn more, contact Advanced Eyelid Surgery Center at 817-778-4444.