Bell's Palsy Causes
Bell's palsy is a form of facial paralysis resulting from a dysfunction of the cranial nerve VII (the facial nerve) that results in the inability to control facial muscles on the affected side. Several conditions can cause facial paralysis, e.g., brain tumor, stroke, and Lyme disease. However, if no specific cause can be identified, the condition is known as Bell's palsy.

Bell's Palsy Causes
Bell's Palsy Causes

Definition:

Bell's Palsy generally results from trauma or damage to one of the two facial nerves. The Facial Nerve, known as the 7th facial nerve, is a paired structure travelling through a narrow, bony canal called the Fallopian Canal. For the most part, it is encased and protected by the bony structure.

Each facial nerve corrects the movements on one of the sides of the face, including all facial expressions, such as smiling and blinking. The facial nerve carries nerve impulses to the tear glands, the salivary glands, and the muscles of a small bone in the middle of the ear called the stapes. The facial nerve also transmits taste sensations from the tongue.

Causes:

As mentioned above, the causes are not definite though it's often associated with exposure to a viral infection. Such viruses include:


◦ Chickenpox
◦ Shingles
◦ Cold sores as well as genital herpes
◦ Mononucleosis
◦ German measles (rubella)
◦ Hand-foot-and-mouth disease
◦ Mumps
◦ Flu (influenza B)


None of the above disease are direct causes, but have been associated as possible Bells Palsy causes.

Symptoms
Mild weakness or total paralysis of one side of the face (occuring within hours or days).
Drooping of the face and difficulty making facial expressions.
Pain in jaw and in the affected side.

Amplified sensitivity to sound on affected side.
Headache.
Decreased ability to taste or complete lack thereof.
Differences in the amount of tears and saliva produced.
Risks

Bell's Palsy has a higher risk or occuring in people who:

Are pregnant, especially during the third trimester, or who are in the first week after giving birth.

Have an upper respiratory infection, such as the flu or a cold.

Some people who have recurring attacks of Bell's palsy, which is rare, have a family history of recurrent attacks. In such a case, it may be a genetic disposition to the paralysis.


Mild cases of Bell's palsy can disappear within a month, sometimes as quickly as within the first ten days, but recovery from a serious case varies greatly.
Complications may include:

Irreversible damage to your facial nerve

Misdirected regrowth of nerve fibers, resulting in involuntary contraction of certain muscles when you're trying to move others (synkinesis) — for example, when you smile, the eye on the affected side may close

Partial or complete blindness of the eye that won't close, due to excessive dryness and scratching of the cornea, the clear protective covering of the eye.