Bell palsy is a sudden weakness on one side of the face.
The exact cause is not known. It is thought to be a result of an infection that affects the nerve, such as the herpes simplex virus and Lyme disease .
Things that may raise the risk of this health problem are:
- Being in the third trimester of pregnancy
Symptoms may start all at once or get worse over 48 hours. They may be:
- Twitching, weakness, or paralysis, most often on one side
- Drooping corner of the mouth
- Drooping or problems closing an eye, which can cause dry eye
- Excess tears from an eye
- Loss of taste
- Sensitivity to sounds
- Pain in the jaw or ear
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis. Some people may need to see a doctor who treats eyes.
Bell palsy often gets better on its own within a few weeks. Full healing may take 3 to 6 months. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms during this time. This can be done with:
Corticosteroids may be given to ease swelling. They may be given with anti-viral medicine to ease severe symptoms in some people.
Eye care may be needed in some people. This may include:
- Lubricant or eye drops
- Covering and taping the eye closed at night
- An eye patch to keep the eye closed
Physical therapy may be needed. It may include facial exercises.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 09/2019 -
- Update Date: 10/11/2019 -