Bell’s palsy / Facial paralysis
This symptom really freaks people out, and understandably so, because it affects the way you present yourself to the world. We totally get it—experiencing temporary facial paralysis, known as Bell’s palsy, can be really distressing. With Bell’s palsy, your muscles might droop or twitch, you may hear ringing in one or both ears, and it can be hard to speak. Other symptoms—which can be mild (as in, barely noticeable to anyone but you) to more severe—can include drooping of the eyelid and corner of the mouth, drooling, dryness of the eye or mouth, taste impairment, and tearing in one eye. Before we go on, this is super important: if you have this symptom, you should seek medical attention immediately to ensure you’re not experiencing a stroke or another serious condition. When it comes to this symptom, it’s better to err on the safe side! Once you’ve determined it’s not an emergency, you can start exploring whether an underlying condition is causing this symptom. People with chronic illnesses, such as Lyme, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and other autoimmune conditions, are more likely to experience facial paralysis and there’s not a ton of research explaining why, but it may have to do with viral infections triggering the immune system to damage facial nerves. Here’s the deal, though: facial paralysis is almost always temporary. While every case is treated differently, for most people, symptoms will go away on their own within a few weeks. Phew! In the meantime, treatments like steroids, physical therapy, facial massage, and acupuncture can help ease and manage your symptoms.