The cause of Bell’s palsy is unknown. Risk factors include diabetes, upper respiratory tract infection, and pregnancy.(1)
It occurs in 1- 4 per 10,000 people per year. About 1.5 % of people are affected at some point in their life.(1)
Why Did I Get Bell’s Palsy Twice?
Bell’s palsy is a neurological condition in which there is paralysis, compression, etc. of the facial nerve. It can occur at various points starting from its origin till it’s ending but a common location associated with compression is in the facial canal in the internal ear. It is because this is the narrowest part of the whole pathway of the facial nerve. Even a small inflammatory change and swelling can lead to damage to the passing nerve and can also easily impair its functions.
Since the cause of bell’s palsy is unknown but according to its widely accepted theory, it is predicted that most of the time, it is caused due to some viral infection particularly herpes simplex virus. Also, this is supported by the evidence that this virus has a particular liking for the nervous tissue and affects the peripheral as well as central nerves. Another feature of this virus is that it can even remain dormant in the ganglions for many years and it can cause reinfection in many cases by reactivation. Now each time the immunity of the individual gets reduced, it gets reactive and comes out of its dormant phase to affect the same or different nerve.
So, it can easily be the cause for getting a case that is affected by the same nervous condition such as Bell’s palsy on more than one occasion. According to a study, the recurrence rate for Bell’s palsy was estimated to be in the range of 4 to 14 percent with an average of 7 percent(2). But the good part about this condition is that each successive infection is usually weaker than the previous one and can get cured early and easily.
Can Bell’s Palsy Go Away In A Week?
Since this condition is associated with nervous tissue involvement, it is very difficult to say how much time will it take to get cured specifically. Sometimes it may take years and even then there may remain some remnant or sequelae is the disease. But usually, it is a self-limiting condition that gets cured in 6 weeks to 3 months automatically. The improvement in the symptoms begins to appear after a minimal period of about 3 weeks but before that, it is very rare to see any improvement(3). Complete cure in a week is almost impossible because the generation of the damaged nervous tissue takes a lot of time and does not get healed this quickly.
However, in any case, if the condition of the patient improves drastically within a week then the cause responsible for this condition needs to be re-evaluated. It may have been wrongly labeled as Bell’s palsy when the facial deviation is due to some other cause such as stroke. A facial deviation suffered from a stroke gets healed much earlier (within a week) if the clot which was responsible for stroke gets flushed by itself in a short period.
A person can get affected by Bell’s palsy repeatedly because it most of the times is caused by a virus known as herpes simplex virus which can remain dormant in the body for a long period and can become reactive once the immunity of the person falls. Also, the minimum period for the complete cure of the bell’s palsy is about 6 weeks.
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