Bell’s Palsy is a temporary facial paralysis that causes half of the face to droop, similar to the appearance of an individual experiencing a stroke. Fortunately, the drooping caused by Bell’s Palsy is not a sign of a life threatening condition such as a stroke.
What Causes Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s Palsy is caused by some sort of damage or trauma to the facial nerves. This causes the function of the nerve to be disrupted, resulting in an interruption in signals from the brain to the facial muscles. Without these signals, the muscles of the face become weak or paralyzed, which causes a drooping appearance.
What are the Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy?
Facial nerves can become damaged at any point in time, which means that symptoms of Bell’s Palsy usually come on suddenly. These symptoms can include:
- Varying degrees of weakness or total paralysis on one side of the face
- Facial droop, which causes difficulty in movement of the affected eye or side of the mouth
- Inhibited sense of taste
- Pain in jaw or behind ear of the affected side
- Fluctuation in the amount of tears or saliva produced
- Increased sensitivity to sound of the affected ear
In more rare instances, Bell’s Palsy has been known to affect both sides of the face.
Bell’s Palsy can appear in anyone of any age, but there are certain risk factors associated with the condition such as individuals that are:
- Pregnant, specifically those in their third trimester or those that have recently given birth
- Currently suffering from an upper respiratory infection
Treatment Options Available
It is important to seek immediate medical attention if you begin to experience any type of facial paralysis, as this may be clear signs of a stroke.
Bell’s Palsy affects each individual differently, so specific treatment may vary from patient to patient. While medications are often used as part of the treatment, in certain circumstances, surgical removal of the bone around the nerve (decompression surgery) may be appropriate.
More From Gulfcoast Ear, Nose & Throat Associates
Because of their extensive training and experience in the management of facial nerve disorders, otolaryngologists (head and neck surgeons) are the most qualified physicians to perform an in-depth evaluation of abnormal movement or paralysis of the face.
Address your concerns of Bell’s Palsy with one of the exceptional otolaryngologists of Gulfcoast Ear, Nose & Throat Associates. To schedule an appointment, please call our Palm Harbor office at (727) 942-4005 today!