Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What caused my Bell's palsy?"
I got Bell's palsy about two months ago. My doctor gave me corticosteroids and it is much better now and the drooping in my face is gone. What caused the Bell's palsy though? I don't want to get it again and want to know how to avoid it.
I am really glad to hear that you are doing better. Corticosteroids definitely help the recovery from Bell's palsy, and most patients do really well after a course of those medications. Bell's palsy, in most cases, is thought to be caused by a viral infection of the facial nerve. Infection of the nerves leads to the typical symptoms, such as drooping of the eyelid and the facial muscles. The most common viral infections that cause Bell's palsy are the herpes viruses, although many other viruses have also been implicated in the condition. Since the herpes viruses remain latent in the body after an infection, it is technically possible to have another reactivation of the virus and a repeat episode of Bell's palsy. Most patients recover completely, and the rate of a recurrent Bell's palsy is probably less than 10%. In cases that do recur, recovery after the second episode still usually occurs. If you are still having some residual defects from your Bell's palsy, or if you have other concerns about the condition, make sure to set up a visit with the doctor who treated you. They will be able to answer any questions you might have.
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