Facial Palsy or Bell’s Palsy: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Divya Tripathi

, Health A2Z

Facial Palsy is a sudden, temporary weakness or paralyzed in facial muscles. This makes half of your face droop and stiff on the same side. Your smile tends to one-sided, and your eye resists to close.

It is also known as Bell’s palsy, can happen at any age. It can occur due to the swelling and inflammation of the nerve that controls the muscles of your face. Or it can be a reaction of a viral infection.

Usually, It is temporary. The symptoms of Bell’s Palsy generally start to improve within a few weeks and will completely recover within a maximum of six months. It’s rare that facial palsy continues for life.

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What are the Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy?

Its symptoms can occur within one to two weeks after an infection like a cold, ear infection, or eye infection. You may notice these symptoms when you wake up in the morning or even you try to drink or eat something.

Other signs and symptoms of the condition include:

  • Drooling
  • Difficulty eating and drinking
  • An inability to make facial expressions, such as smiling or frowning
  • Facial weakness
  • Muscle twitches in the face
  • Dry eye and mouth
  • A headache
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Irritation of the eye on the involved side

If you feel any of these symptoms call your doctor immediately. These symptoms can be similar to many other serious diseases, Like a stroke or brain tumor.

What are the Causes of Bell’s Palsy?

Well, the exact cause of this disease isn’t clear, it often occurs due to the exposure to a viral infection. Viruses that cause Facial palsy are:

  • Cold sores and genital herpes (herpes simplex)
  • Flu (influenza B)
  • Chickenpox and shingles (herpes zoster)
  • Infectious mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr)
  • Respiratory illnesses (adenovirus)
  • Cytomegalovirus infections
  • Mumps (mumps virus)
  • German measles (rubella)
  • Hand-foot-and-mouth disease (coxsackievirus)

What are the Risk Factors of Bell’s Palsy?

People are at a higher risk of it:

  • Pregnant women, especially during the third trimester, or after a week of delivery.
  • Having an upper respiratory infection, like flu or a cold
  • Diabetic
  • Repetitive attacks of Bell’s palsy are rare. But if there’s a family history of repetitive attacks.

What are the Treatments for Facial Palsy?

Usually, these symptoms improve without any treatment. Still, sometimes it can take a few weeks or months for the muscles in to recover their normal strength.

These treatments may help you in recovery.


  • Corticosteroid drugs to reduce inflammation
  • Antibacterial or Antiviral medication, If it is caused by an infection.
  • Pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to reduce mild pain
  • Eye drops

Home Treatment

  • Eyepatch (for your dry eye)
  • Warm moist towel over your face to relieve pain
  • Facial massage
  • Physical therapy exercises to stimulate your facial muscles


So, this disease can not a big cause to worry. Recovery time for facial palsy may vary, and depends upon the severity of nerve damage. In general, you can see an improvement within two weeks and majorly it completely recover within three to six months.

Still, you should call your doctor immediately if you see any symptoms of Bell’s palsy. These symptoms can be similar to many other serious diseases, Like a stroke or brain tumor.

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