Bell’s palsy causes sudden weakness in the facial muscles. As a result, half of your face looks lowered. The smile becomes one-sided, while the eye opposes the closure on this side of the face. Bell’s palsy, also known as facial paralysis, may occur at any age. The exact cause is not known, but is believed to be the result of swelling and inflammation of the nerves that control the muscles on one side of the face. Also, there may be a reaction that occurs after a viral infection.
In most people, Bell’s paralysis is temporary. During treatment, symptoms can be reduced within a few weeks, while for complete recovery it takes about six months. However, a small number of people still have some symptoms of the disease after treatment. Rarely, Bell’s palsy may reappear after healing.
Causes of Bell’s palsy
Although the exact cause of Bell’s palsy is not clear, it is often associated with exposure to viral infections. Viruses that are closely related to Bell’s palsy, and potentially cause it are:
Boils and genital herpes (herpes simplex),
Shingles (herpes zoster),
Infections caused by cytomegalovirus,
Respiratory diseases (adenovirus),
Rubella, mumps and influenza (influenza B).
Symptoms of Bell’s palsy
Signs and symptoms of Bell’s palsy appear suddenly, and include:
The quick onset of mild weakness on one side of the face,
Appears for a few hours a day,
On the affected side of a person’s face, and it is difficult for a person to laugh and to close the eye on that side,
Pain around the jaw and behind the ear on the affected side,
Increased sound sensitivity on the affected side,
Facial relaxation and difficulty in controlling the facial muscles,
Reduced ability to sense taste,
Changes in the amount of tears and saliva secretion,
Rarely, Bell’s palsy can affect the nerves of both sides of the face.