Bell’s palsy, also known as facial palsy, can occur at any age and is a condition that causes sudden and temporary weakness in the facial muscle. This type of weakness makes half of the face appear to droop, making the smile one-sided, and the eyes on that side resist closing.
The exact cause of Bell’s Palsy is unknown; however, it is believed to be the result of swelling and inflammation of the nerve that controls the muscles on one side of the face. It might be a reaction that occurs after a viral infection.
Bell’s palsy is usually temporary for many people. The condition starts to improve within a few weeks, with a complete recovery in about six months.
However, a small number of people might suffer from some of Bell’s palsy symptoms for life. In rarest of the circumstances, Bell’s palsy can recur.
What are the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy?
Signs and symptoms of Bell’s palsy may appear suddenly, and in rare cases, it can cause damage to the facial nerves. Some of the common signs and symptoms of Bell’s Palsy are highlighted below:
- Facial paralysis
- Mild weakness on any one side of the face
- Complete paralysis on any side of the face
- Facial droop, which leads to difficulty in smiling
- Having pain around the jaw, behind the ear, and so on
What are the causes of Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s Palsy affects the nerve that controls the facial muscles passing through the narrow corridor of bone connected to the face by making it inflamed or swollen plausibly because of some viral infection. This can also cause an impact on our tears, saliva, taste, and a small bone in the middle of the ear. However, the robust cause of Bell’s palsy is yet to be identified; however, quite often, it can be related to exposure to any viral infection:
- Herpes simplex, and zoster
- Cytomegalovirus infections
- Respiratory illnesses (adenovirus)
- German measles (rubella)
- Mumps (mumps virus)
- Influenza B
- Hand-foot-and-mouth disease (coxsackievirus)
What are the risk factors associated with Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy may occur in people with the following conditions:
- Pregnant females may suffer from bell’s palsy during their third trimester or post-delivery
- People with a medical history of upper respiratory infection and diabetes
- People with a family history of genetic predisposition to Bell’s palsy
What are the side effects of Bell’s Palsy?
As mentioned earlier, Bell’s palsy is usually temporary and usually improves within a few weeks; however, recovery from a more severe condition might lead to complete paralysis.
Below mentioned are some of the most common complications related to Bell’s Palsy:
- It may cause massive damage to the facial nerve
- It may lead to abnormal regrowth of nerve fibers which causes involuntary contraction of specific muscles- known as synkinesis
- It may lead to partial or complete loss of eyesight
Disclaimer: This blog has been written by the doctor after performing in-depth secondary research related to the topic. Suppose you see any issues related to Bell Palsy or Facial Palsy, we strictly advise you to seek medical consultation. You book consultation with Dr. Smita Goel.