Dealing With Bell’s Palsy
Bell’s Palsy is a condition that can come on very quickly. It causes about half the muscles in your face to suddenly weaken, resulting in a your lips dropping on that side, your eye not wanting to close, and an overall lop-sided look. Bell’s Palsy can come on at any time and affects people of all ages. Unfortunately, no one knows what causes it, but on the upside, it’s very often only a temporary condition. However, in rare cases, it can be permanent or can recur.
While there is no confirmed cause of Bell’s Palsy, many specialists believe that it’s caused by inflammation or swelling of one of the nerves in the face that controls muscles. The swelling is most likely caused by a virus. In fact, several viruses have been connected to Bell’s Palsy, including those that cause singles/chickenpox, cold sores/genital herpes, respiratory illnesses, mumps, the flue, and mononucleosis.
The nerve that is affected makes its way through a narrow part of the bone in the face. When it becomes swollen, it affects your facial muscles, taste buds, saliva production, tear production, and even a bone in the middle of your ear.
While anyone can have Bell’s Palsy, it is more common in pregnant women in their third trimester or right after they have given birth. It’s also more common in those who have diabetes or have an upper respiratory infection.
What happens when you get struck with Bell’s Palsy? Symptoms vary, of course, because some people may have it worse than others. Here are some of the symptoms you may experience:
• A droop on one side of your face
• Difficulty making expressions
• A complete paralysis of one side of your face
• Increased sound sensitivity on the side of the face that’s affected
• Pain in your jaw or around your ear
• Food tastes bland or tastes different
• You find it difficult to produce saliva or tears
These symptoms can come on within a few hours. While Bell’s Palsy usually only affects half of your face, in some very rare cases, it can actually affect both sides.
Note that if you feel paralysis in your body, you need to see a doctor or go to the emergency room immediately. It can be a sign of a stroke.
Usually, Bell’s Palsy goes away on its own in no more than a month, but more severe cases can take longer. Very severe cases can actually leave you paralyzed or with less facial control on half of your face. It’s also possible that the nerve fibers won’t grow correctly, causing signals to the face to be misdirected. You may also find that you lose some sight in the eye that is affected due to the fact that you may not be able to blink or close that eye.
In most cases, doctors will prescribe a corticosteroid to reduce the swelling. Doing physical therapy exercises and massages to the muscles in the face are also needed since those muscles could shrink while paralyzed. Decompression surgery was once done, but due to its risks, it’s no longer recommended.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any diseases.