There’s an old saying that goes “use it or lose it” which essentially means if you have a thing, you better make use of it before it’s gone. We don’t have a lot of sayings about overuse, however, and it turns out we should. There are plenty of things in life you can overuse that you may have never even realized. Let’s take a look at ten of the most unexpected.
10. Overuse of Willpower Makes it Harder to Keep Doing It
If you’re the Green Lantern, it’s only by strength of will that you can save the universe from nefarious extraterrestrial threats. We place a lot of value on will and determination. But it does need to be tempered and since most of us don’t have a powerful ring of mysterious origin, we need to be careful how we use that will power.
There is evidence to suggest that you can wear your willpower out over time. If you use willpower in one circumstance, you will have less to use in a subsequent one. In one study, participants were placed in a room with a plate of freshly baked cookies and a bowl of radishes. One group was asked to only eat the radishes while the other could have the cookies. Both then had to solve a puzzle. Those that used willpower to resist the cookies gave up on the puzzle after 8 minutes on average, while those who ate them lasted for 19 minutes.
The basic idea here is that willpower requires mental energy. Using up your mental energy reserves and maintaining self-control becomes remarkably difficult over time. The more energy you use, the less willpower you can exert. The theory has been contested by other researchers who have conducted similar experiments and found no evidence of what they call “ego depletion” but the original researcher maintains follow ups had issues with their methodologies.
9. Overuse of a Pacifier May Cause Speech Development Issues
In what appears to be another case of The Simpsons predicting the future, it turns out Maggie has been doomed to silence from the get go and it’s all thanks to that pacifier. Research has shown that babies who overuse pacifiers may have issues with speech development later in life.
Along with thumb sucking and bottle use, children who suck on a pacifier for more than three years are three times as likely to develop a speech impediment as children who didn’t use one. It’s possible that using a pacifier may change the shape of the dental arch and bite, and it can still cause problems if one is used for less time. Other research indicates that a child who uses the pacifier after the age of two risks altering the way their teeth grow in and the shape of their bite, which is where the speech issues can begin.
8. Overuse of Mouthwash May Make Your Overall Mouth Health Worse
Dentists do recommend you use mouthwash provided you use it properly as part of an overall oral health routine. And why not? It leaves you minty fresh and helps destroy that feeling you get when you wake up with your mouth tasting like a swamp.
The kind of mouthwash you use may cause issues, especially if you’re using it to excess. Most mouthwashes use alcohol as a carrier agent to hold the ingredients that can cause bad breath, but studies have linked those to oral cancers. Again, it’s the alcohol here that’s doing it, which means those that don’t use alcohol, often the once marketed as being more gentle, wouldn’t cause the same issues. It can also cause a serious burning sensation for some people.
Dry mouth is another common side effect experienced after mouthwash use. Sodium lauryl sulfate, an ingredient that creates a foaming action, can also cause canker sores. Teeth staining and the destruction of beneficial bacteria are also potential side effects.
7. Overuse of Porn May Cause ED
You may want to sit down for this fact, but the internet has pornography on it. For most people, this isn’t an issue. If you’re not interested, you avoid it. If you are, you may seek it out. But another thing you may not be aware of is that you can potentially overuse pornography. In a real, physically debilitating way. Overuse of pornography has been linked to erectile dysfunction in men.
The research into how pornography effects sexual dysfunction is still up for debate, so consider this more of a warning than absolute certainty. But there have been a number of studies that have concluded overuse of pornography may lead to erectile dysfunction and that avoiding it for a period of time can reverse those effects.
So how would this even work? Well, sexual arousal and response are as much mental as it is physical. Some studies have suggested that overuse of pornography causes a potential desensitization to sexual stimuli. Basically, you see so much of it for so long that nothing thrills you any more. It’s like eating your favorite food every day for 10 years. Eventually you’ll lose all interest.
For what it’s worth, there are also some studies which indicate the opposite may happen and that pornography can help cure ED in some men.
6. Overuse of Flip Flops Can Cause Orthopedic Issues
You can’t swing a cat in the summer without hitting someone wearing flip flops, the unofficial footwear of hot weather. And while they’re perfect for walking around poolside or on a beach to avoid the hot sand, your foot health can’t be ignored and a flip flop is hardly an orthopedic shoe. If you wear flip flops too often, you may regret it.
A flip flop offers no arch support whatsoever. It doesn’t absorb much force when you walk, so your heels take a beating and there’s no ankle support like you’d find in a regular shoe ever. So basically it’s like being barefoot. Again, that’s fine in small doses, but it can cause issues over time. But it gets worse. Unlike just being barefoot, you’re also courting blisters from the potentially rough sole as well as the thong between your toes, as well as a breeding ground for fungus. So it’s actually worse than being barefoot.
Studies show that people in flip flops alter their gait to accommodate how the flip flops fit. This leads to not just foot pain but pain in the hips and lower back.
5. Overuse of Kegel Exercises Can Cause Pain
Kegel exercises are done to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and have been linked to increased sexual pleasure as well as the ability to stave off urinary incontinence among other benefits.You can do them pretty much anywhere without anyone even knowing you’re doing it, so they seem like a good idea, right? Well, as we’ve learned, all good things in moderation. So what happens when you overdo kegels?
Doctors may recommend different methods, but something like doing 100 10-second flexes of your muscles per day might be considered normal. But as with any exercise, some people like the “go hard or go home” methods, and if you do too many, you can overwork those muscles. The end result can be muscle discomfort and pain during intercourse.
Other symptoms can include urinary incontinence, bladder, pain, frequent urination, constipation and pain in other areas. In other words, doing too many kegels can undo literally everything you might want to do them for.
4. Overuse of Bidets Can Cause Serious Health Issues
For some people in the world, there’s nothing better than a bidet. For others, the very idea is cringeworthy. During the height of the covid-19 pandemic, when toilet paper was being hoarded and in short supply, the bidet enjoyed a surge in popularity. But things aren’t all sunshines and squirting roses with a bidet. Turns out that little splash at the backdoor can cause some damage if you’re not careful.
As with anything you may shoot at your own butt, a bidet needs to be used properly and carefully. Some bidets offer the ability to alter water pressure and temperature. A high-powered jet of hot water is not something you want to shoot your sensitive anatomy with. Reports of bidet-related injuries are not abundant, but they do exist. People have reported issues with rectal prolapses and fissures, as well as burns from hot water.
In Japan, overuse of bidets has been linked to anal pruritus, which is a fancy way of saying itching. Lots of itching. But it also has led to anal incontinence. There’s also a risk for infections if multiple people use the same bidet and bacteria from the spray nozzle gets passed from one to another.
3. Too Much Laughing Gas Destroys Your Spine
Most people don’t have many reasons to try out nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, in their day to day lives. Typically, it’s used as an anesthetic for dental procedures and also to give your car a speed boost if you’re into street racing. And it’s just as well that we don’t get exposed to it all that often because it can destroy your spine.
There are some people who use nitrous recreationally to get a quick high. If you’ve ever heard of whippets, that’s what they’re talking about. But the risk of spinal degeneration has sent a number of users to the hospital and, in some cases, has left them wheelchair bound. The gas can strip vitamin B12 from your body. Over time, this leads to spinal degeneration.
Many users of the gas believe it’s harmless. It’s not a controlled substance and there’s no scientific evidence to suggest it’s addictive because not a lot of study has been done in that field. But it gives users a quick sense of euphoria and fun, which makes sense for something called laughing gas. Over the last several years, particularly in Europe, hospitals have seen a rise in cases of serious damage being caused by the gas, however.
2. Internet Overuse May Cause Brain Damage
You like the internet, right? It has pretty much the entirety of human knowledge on it plus you can use it to order pizza 24 hours a day. It’s the best thing we’ve ever made except for all the scams, toxicity, harassment, and despair. Also, it may be giving you brain damage.
Research into teens who suffer from internet addiction has shown structural and functional interference in parts of their brains related to organization. It was likened to the kind of impairment you’d find in the brains of alcoholics and gambling addicts.
Those with internet addiction suffer changes to the white and gray matter of their brain similar to that seen in the brains of people with cocaine addictions. Emotional functioning and brain functions suffer as a result. Side effects can include mood disorders, anxiety and depression.
1. Overuse of Numbing Creams Can Kill You
Have you ever used a numbing cream? Typically, these are used after cosmetic surgery procedures. Something like laser hair removal, for instance. As part of the aftercare, you may use cream with a topical anesthetic in it to manage pain afterward. There are similar creams you can use if you have various kinds of injuries as well, rather than taking pills to manage the pain, particularly if the injury is just a skin wound of some kind.
It turns out, however, that these creams meant to relieve pain can be overused to the point that they actually kill you. In 2007, at least two people died from overuse of numbing creams after undergoing laser hair removal on their legs.
Drugs like lidocaine, benzocaine and others are used in these creams and if the doses are high enough, too much can be absorbed into your bloodstream. This can lead to irregular heartbeats and coma as well as death, even when using them as directed by a doctor.
The FDA has warned that, although many of these creams are prescribed by doctors, there are over the counter versions which need to be used as directed and consult with a physician before using anything.