Bell’s palsy is a paralysis or weakness of muscles on one side of the face as a result of an infection or inflammation of the seventh nerve. A damage to the seventh facial nerve causes a prolapse of one side of the face and the inability to control facial muscles. It can also affect the sense of taste, chewing, tears, and saliva.
Bell’s palsy happens without prior notice often during the night and it often disappears in several weeks or several months.
Causes for Bell’s palsy
Bell’s palsy usually occurs abruptly at one side of the face. It may happen due to:
- Exposure to direct air (exposure of one side of the face to direct air-blast).
- Sudden exposure to cold air stream after a physical effort is a major cause for Bell’s palsy.
- Excessive mental stress.
- It may occur to patients with hyperglycemia – High level of blood sugar.
- Infection of the seventh nerve.
- Viral infection – often an eye herpes.
- A trauma or an injury to the skull of the head through which the nerve passes.
- A tumor that causes pressure on the nerve from inside the skull or outside of it.
- Facial pain and pain around the ear (in front of, or behind the ear).
- Inability to close the eye (on one side of the face), thus causing dryness of the eye.
- Difficulty raising your eyebrow, smiling and also speaking.
- The tongue and mouth may appear deflected from the normal side and may have saliva running down of it.
- Hypogeusia – the loss of taste sensation.
- Hypersensitive to sounds and noises due to a damaged in the muscle Stirrup of the ear.
- Sudden weakness or paralysis in one side of the face that eventually causes facial prolapse.
- Numbness in the affected side of the face.