Does Bell's palsy go away on its own?

You may recover from Bell's palsy without treatment. Depending on how severe your symptoms are, you may not need much treatment, and you may never experience Bell's palsy again. For example, if your facial muscles are only weakened, your Bell's palsy is may be less severe than that of someone with complete paralysis. Medications lessen the symptoms of Bell's palsy, rather than cure it. It is important to follow your doctor's recommendations on eye and muscle care in order to prevent eye damage and weakened or shortened muscles.

Bell's palsy is a condition where the muscles on one side of the face become partially or completely paralysed due to a palsy of the 7th cranial nerve on the same side.  A patient with a 7th nerve palsy needs to have a complete physical exam and radiologic imaging to be sure the palsy is not caused by a tumor.  If no cause is found then the condition is said to be idiopathic.  There is an association with Herpes Zoster virus which is the same as the chicken pox virus or shingles virus. In many cases it will resolve without residual effects.  Other cases may only partially resolve and symptoms such as tearing or spasms on that side may persist.  It is important to be followed by an Eye M.D. because the loss of the ability to blink and close the eye can cause the surface of the eye to dry out which may lead to infections or other complications.  Frequent ocular lubricants and taping the eyelid closed at nigth are often used in treatment.

In over 80% of cases, Bell’s palsy disappears on its own. This recovery process typically begins within three weeks of the disease’s onset and is complete after two to three months. In less than 20% of cases, symptoms of Bell’s palsy do not get better. Your ophthalmologist may have use you use eye lubricants or drops to prevent complications. Be sure to carefully follow your doctor's instructions because if your eyelid cannot close properly, your eye becomes vulnerable to irritation, dryness, and other problems. In some cases, your ophthalmologist may prescribe drugs called corticosteroids to assist the healing process.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.