Bells Palsy



The exact cause of Bell Palsy is not known. It is thought to be a result of an infection that affects a nerve. Herpes simplex virus and Lyme disease are some examples.

Risk Factors

The risk of Bell palsy may be higher in people with diabetes. It may also be higher in pregnant women who are in their third trimester.



Symptoms may start all at once or get worse over 48 hours. Problems may be:

  • Twitching, weakness, or paralysis, most often on one side
  • Drooping corner of the mouth
  • Drooling
  • Drooping eye or problems closing an eye, which can lead to dry eye
  • Excess tears from an eye
  • Loss of taste
  • Sensitivity to sounds
  • Pain in the jaw or ear
  • Headache
  • Dizziness


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis. Some people may need to see a doctor who treats eyes.



Bell palsy can get better on its own within a few weeks. Full healing may take 3 to 6 months. Treatment may be needed to manage more severe symptoms. Choices are:

  • Corticosteroids to ease swelling
  • Eye care, such as:
    • Lubricant or eye drops
    • Covering and taping the eyelid closed at night
    • An eye patch to keep the eyelid closed
  • Facial exercise therapy


There are no known methods to prevent Bell palsy.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.