Eyebrow twitching: 14 Causes, Treatment, Outlook

Many muscles in our body contracts or twitches involuntarily and our eyelids are one of them. Involuntary movement or spasm in the tissue surrounding the eyebrow is known as eyebrow twitching. This usually happens during eyelid twitching as it pulls the skin surrounding the eyebrow.

This process is often not very painful but of course quite uncomfortable and annoying. Such twitching can happen for a few seconds only or may last for some hours. Generally, it does not need any medical attention and goes away with time on its own. Eyebrow twitching can also happen due to some long-term disorders.

For example, eyebrow twitching can occur due to hemifacial spasms, which is a lifelong disorder because of irritated or damaged facial nerves. This disorder is different from common eye twitching and usually takes place in any one side of your face expanding beyond your eye.

There may be several different reasons behind eyebrow twitching including sleep disorder (insufficient sleep) or too much coffee (caffeine). Moreover, eyebrow twitching can be the signs and symptoms of more serious underlying disease in your body.

Therefore, it is essential to address the issue rather than ignoring it. If you are suffering from this condition for long, it is better to consult your physician and make sure that there is no serious problem.

General causes of eyebrow twitching:

eyebrow twitching
Eyebrow twitching
Image source: bustle.com
Caffeine:

You may suffer from eyebrow twitching if you are consuming too much caffeine every day. Try to keep a track on your caffeine consumption and relate it with eyebrow twitching to understand whether caffeine is the real culprit.

If you can find are a direct relation between caffeine intake and your eyebrow twitching then cut down the consumption of energy drinks, soda, tea and coffee.

Tobacco drugs and alcohol:

Your eyebrow can also twitch if you take recreational drugs, use tobacco and drink alcohol. Consider avoiding these substances as far as possible.

Certain medicines:

Several medicines can cause eyebrow twitching as side effects. Stimulants used for the treatment of ADHD can prompt eyebrow and eye twitches with different frequency. Mainly, diuretics, antipsychotic and antiepileptic drugs can result in eyebrow twitching.

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So consult your physician if you are taking these medicines and suffering from the side effects to lower its doses or change to alternative medicines.

Stress:

Apart from many other physical problems, stress can also result in eyebrow twitching. If eyebrow twitching is troubling you, then consider eliminating the sources of stress from your life.

Of course, it is not always possible to remove the cause of stress in your life, but you can still manage them so that it has less effect on your physical and mental health. Otherwise, try to exercise relaxation techniques like meditation and physical and mental exercises.

Strain in the eye:

Eyebrow twitching can happen due to eye strain. If you are straining your eyes by spending too much time in front of a computer or going out in bright sunshine for long hours, then these activities can cause eye strain.

Give short breaks while doing work in the computer and always wear sunglasses when you are involved in outdoor activities in bright sunshine. Twitching may also be the sign that you need a new spec or contact lens.

Fatigue:

Eyebrow twitching may result from fatigue as well. When you are too much exhausted, and out of energy you may suffer from eyebrow twitching. Try to get adequate sleep (minimum of 7 hours a day) as inadequate sleep makes you feel fatigued very quickly.

Issues with nutrition:

Eyebrow twitching often happens due to nutritional deficiency (particularly potassium and magnesium). Magnesium deficiency can result in hypomagnesemia with symptoms like changes in personality, loss of appetite, tremors, weakness, tiredness and nausea.

Take nuts, avocados, dark chocolates, almonds, soya milk, spinach, kidney beans, cashew nuts, black beans, peanuts and bananas to supplement the deficiency of potassium and magnesium.

Allergic reactions:

If you are allergic, then you may be susceptible to eyebrow twitching. When you have irritation in your eyes, you usually rub them which promote the release of histamine (a compound produced as a response to foreign particles) that may result in eyebrow and eye twitching. The twitching goes away when you address the allergic reactions.

Other medical and physiological conditions may cause eyebrow twitching such as:

Hemifacial Spasm:

This type of eyebrow twitching happens due to irritation of facial nerves, and it is different from other types of eyebrow twitching. Generally, such a condition persists throughout the life of an individual and affects only one side of the face, particularly surrounding the eye. It is a rare disorder affecting only 11 in 100000 individuals.

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Dystonia:

This disorder causes uncontrollable spasm in the muscles resulting in slow but repetitive movements which may affect any part of your body. This may be the cause of your eyebrow twitching. Dystonia can happen because of some underlying diseases like alcoholic ketoacidosis, cerebral palsy, Huntington’s disease, brain aneurysm, stroke, encephalopathy, encephalitis or Parkinson’s disease.

Blepharospasm:

This disorder is commonly known as BEB or benign essential blepharospasm where your eyelids get forcefully closed with involuntary spasms. Unusual muscle tone and movement is a characteristic feature of this condition.

In most cases, this muscle spasms spread to other muscles in the face apart from the eyelids. This disorder is prevalent more in women compared to men (women are twice more vulnerable than men). BEB also has the following signs and symptoms:

  • Similar symptoms in both eyes
  • Involuntary squinting
  • Eye irritation
  • Dry eyes
  • Frequent blinking

The condition is usually seen in individuals in their mid to late adulthood. Botox injection can reduce the condition but often additional treatments are also required after the effect of the injection goes away. The physician may opt for Myectomy, a surgical procedure where nerves and the muscles of your eyelids are removed. This is done only in severe BEB cases.

Bell’s palsy:

This disease causes paralysis or weakness in the facial muscle which is temporary. This happens when the nerves of your face become compressed or swollen. This may occur due to herpes simplex (a type of virus) or other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and ear infection. However, the real cause is still not known. The disease has the following symptoms:

  • Drinking and eating difficulty
  • Facial twitches
  • Difficulty in smiling
  • Difficulty in making different facial expressions
  • Drooling
  • Inability to close and open your eyes at will
  • Drooping on any one side of your face

In most cases this disease goes away on its own; however, you may consider consulting your physician as there are some eye drops and medication that may aid you in its management.

Tourette syndrome:

This is a neurological disorder where repetitive, involuntary movement and speech including eyebrow twitching is common. The disease is predominantly seen in males and appears first in individuals between 3 to 9 years of age. It does not usually require medical interventions.

Multiple sclerosis:

It is an autoimmune disorder where your body’s immune system attacks the CNS (central nervous system) that may result in eyebrow twitching, pain, memory issues, trouble concentrating, tremors, speech disorders, difficulty walking and fatigue.

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Extreme tiredness is a common problem of multiple sclerosis, and people find it difficult to memorize things and concentrate properly. There is no specific cure for this disorder, but therapies and medications can manage it by slowing down its progress and offer symptomatic patient relief.

Treatment of eyebrow twitching:

Before opting for medication and visiting a healthcare professional, consider getting adequate sleep and plenty of rest to decrease spasms in your muscles. In general instances of the eyebrow, twitching does not result from any serious condition and are harmless.

However, if the disorder persists for long, then consult your physician to rule out the possibility of underlying severe illness causing the twitching.

In most cases, eyebrow twitches take place because of excessive intake of caffeine, fatigue and stress. Having enough magnesium through your diet, taking anti-allergy medicines (if you are allergic), applying warm compresses on your eyes, getting adequate rest, taking less caffeine and using common eye drops can cure the problem or reduce the discomfort.

Consulting a physician is advisable when the eyebrow twitch persists for over several weeks, the eyelid closes entirely during twitching, similar twitching also taking place in other parts of your body or face, development of discharge, redness or swelling in the surrounding areas of your eyes, and there is droop in the facial muscles or eyelids

The outlook for patients suffering from eyebrow twitching:

Usually, you do not need any specific treatment for your eyebrow twitching and can be resolved by doing some lifestyle changes and taking adequate rest. Many times it is a temporary issue and will go away after some time or days.

Only take it as a severe problem and consult a physician if changing the diet, reducing the stress level, altering the sleep schedule and habit fail to improve the situation. If the condition persists, then there may be some serious underlying health problems that may need immediate attention.

References:
  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/eyebrow-twitching
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321191.php
  3. https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/eye-twitching.htm

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