With fewer than 200,000 cases a year, Bell’s Palsy is considered a rare condition, but coping with Bell’s Palsy can still be challenging. However, for those who experience its effects, the rarity of its occurrence is unlikely to provide any real comfort. Sometimes referred to as idiopathic facial paralysis, Bell’s Palsy causes the muscles on one side of the face to weaken, resulting in a noticeable droop, especially near the eyes and mouth. In most cases, Bell’s Palsy is directly associated with an ongoing viral infection, but scientists remain unsure of what triggers the event.
Fortunately, with the help of a top eyelid surgeon in Los Angeles, your options can open up.
What Conditions can Trigger the Onset of Bell’s Palsy
As far as we know, viruses are the most common cause of Bell’s Palsy. Herpes simplex virus, chickenpox, influenza, hand-foot-and-mouth, and mononucleosis are among the long list of viruses capable of trigging the condition. Still, many others are simply not as common, including mumps and measles.
Regardless of whether you are currently fighting a virus, you should always seek immediate medical attention if one side of your face begins to droop. It could be the result of a life-threatening condition, like a stroke, so it is best to treat your symptoms as a possible emergency. Once your medical care provider has determined that you have Bell’s Palsy, you can start a course of treatment.
In many cases, this will include corticosteroids and a round of antiviral drugs. With proper medical care, most cases resolve within six months as the cranial nerve regains proper function. However, some patients are less fortunate.
Dealing with Long-Term Bell’s Palsy
Living with Bell’s Palsy for even six months is bad enough, but living with it for the rest of your life can seem unbearable. Even patients with a temporary case of Bell’s Palsy will need to take a few deep breaths before diving in and deciding how they will handle the news. Kate Boswell, writing for the Facial Paralysis and Bell’s Palsy Foundation, suggests it is important for patients to be informed. But she cautions against allowing research to overtake your ability to care for yourself mentally and emotionally.
If you are struggling to understand how Bell’s Palsy happens, your best resource is your medical team. You can do some of your own research. But you need to be willing to vet your sources and keep yourself from obsessing. Instead of throwing yourself down an internet rabbit hole, write down your questions, and ask your doctor next time you meet with them.
Use the rest of your time to process how the condition makes you feel, and do what you can to take charge of those feelings. You don’t have to be ashamed of your anger or sorrow. Allow them to exist. They are natural. Then do things that make you happy to naturally replace those feelings without hiding them away.
Addressing the Physical Results
If it appears your palsy is permanent, that does not mean that you have to deal with forever. There are ways to help you with coping with Bell’s Palsy. Specialized surgeons, like Beverly Hill’s own Dr. Christopher Zoumalan, can help you regain more normal facial function by targeting the areas that are most affected by Bell’s Palsy.
Dr. Zoumalan specializes in treatment for facial paralysis in Beverly Hills. For patients with Bell’s Palsy, a cosmetic eyelid surgeon and plastic surgeon can work together to restore normal function and appearance to the affected eye. The procedure works by placing a small weight in the upper eyelid. This helps patients achieve complete closure of the eye and resuspension of the lower lid. As a result, patients who have the procedure can use their eyes normally again, keeping them lubricated and healthy.