Ponce de León sure wasted a lot of time and effort looking for the Fountain of Youth. Nowadays, everyone knows that a youthful, wrinkle-free appearance is as close as your doctor’s office. Doctors have been using botulism toxin type A, marketed by the pharmaceutical company Allergan as Botox, to smooth patients’ faces for years. They’re also using it for a variety of other, lesser-known uses. According to Allergan, Botox is one of the world’s most-researched medicines and it’s “currently approved in approximately 85 countries for 25 different indications.” That’s a lot of indications, and doctors are experimenting with new ones all the time. Here are five of the most unusual uses for the drug. (Please note that they may not all be approved.)
Improve Your Poker Face
Some poker players are betting on Botox to prevent them from involuntarily giving away their hands. The Huffington Post reports that Dr. Jack Berdy, who works on New York City’s prestigious Upper East Side, has developed a program he calls “Pokertox.” He uses the paralyzing power of Botox to erase his patients tells like raised eyebrows or the appearance of worry lines. For some players who are “all in,” they feel this gives them an advantage at the casino.
Eliminate Excessive Sweating
The International Hyperhidrosis Society estimates that hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, affects about 3 percent of the world’s population, which translates to millions of people worldwide. Botox injections can block the nerves that stimulate sweat glands, effectively treating the problem. Besides the underarms, some patients have also been receiving the treatment in their feet and palms.
Bring Back the Music
According to doctors at The Neurological Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, as many as one in 200 professional musicians suffer from a condition known as focal dystonia, which causes involuntary muscle contractions and spasms. This is especially prevalent in concert pianists, whose hands make highly practiced movements for hours and hours each day. It can also affect the mouth and lips or vocal cords of other instrumentalists or singers. Doctors like Dr. Anna Conti, who keeps a piano in her office in order to observe patients’ playing difficulties, isolate problematic muscles and treat them with Botox injections.
Eliminate High-Heel Pain
Every woman dreams of wearing flattering heels without the associated agony. Now, that just might be possible. The Daily Mail reports that doctors are using Botox to treat a condition called “stilettotarsal,” or foot pain related to wearing high-heeled shoes. After years and years in the punishing footwear, the balls of the feet can really take a beating. Now, Botox injections are being used to plump them up, giving women extra cushioning where they need it most and alleviating some of their discomforts.
Inject It Where the Sun Don’t Shine
Yes, Botox really is an all-over treatment these days, even venturing down below to aid in the treatment of stubborn anal fissures. The Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College at Cornell University write, “Botox injection relaxes the anal sphincter muscles at the injection site,” which allows the fissure to heal. Even after the effects of the treatment wear off, the fissures often remain healed.