Bell's Palsy - Any reason to rush to a doctor?

Within the past few days I believe I’ve developed Bell’s Palsy. I’ve been trying to make an appointment to see a doctor and can’t get in for a week or more. Are there any reasons I should see a doctor sooner?

I had a friend who had this about 10 years ago. The doctor couldn’t do a whole lot. It took about a year to go away.

Ralph Nader had it for what seemed like years.

Try to get in sooner. It may not be Bell’ Palsy.

Facial paralysis can be caused by lots of things. Some, like Bell’s Palsy, are self limiting and essentially untreatable.

Others, like stroke, are at another end of the spectrum entirely.

My wife developed facial paralysis after the birth of our twins. While initially diagnosed as Bell’s Palsy, it was actually a migraine symptom caused by post-partum hormonal imbalance. Migraine medication made the paralysis disappear within a week.

Disclaimer, IANAD.

If I were you I’d get into see a doctor sooner. Urgent care facility maybe? I’m surprised that your doctor wouldn’t squeeze you in for something like this.

I had Bell’s Palsy about 20 years ago. IIRC the doctor gave me something in the form of pills to help the recovery, but I don’t recall what. Mainly I remember sleeping with a heating pad on my face or neck. In the years between then and now, they may have come up with better therapy. I don’t know.

Another not-so-fond memory is the difficulty in eating. Food and/or drink would keep dribbling out of my mouth. I developed real empathy for the disabled.

My paralysis went away in about 6 months with no lasting side effects. A small percentage of people are permanently affected.

While Bell’s Palsy is not uncommon, I’d still get to a doctor as soon as possible.

prednisone, used early in the course of Bell’s Palsy, may reduce its severity and shorten its duration for some patients.


Thanks Qadgop. I was hoping you’d make an appearance.

Thanks for all the replies. I’m in-between doctors right now but I’ll up my efforts to get in to see someone sooner than next week. Eating and drinking is a challenge for sure, but what’s most upsetting to me so far is the difficulty speaking.

I Am Not A Doctor… but I have been a patient…

Go right away. I’ve had Bell’s Palsy. Got it by diving into a really cold pool in December, many years back.

When I told my family doc about my symptoms, she asked me to rush to the hospital immediately. I was given some kind of steroids (injection) and was asked to exercise my facial muscles.

At the point I went in to the hospital, I already had paralysis of the left side of my face. I couldn’t even blink shut my left eye.

As I understood it, the more you delay treatment the more permanent the paralysis is likely to be. Luckily for me I’m back to normal now. I still have extremely mild residual effects, although its not noticable to others.

Bell’s Palsy is not always successfully treatable, and can relapse even if cured.

Do not delay.

I’ve had it twice. Once in each side of my face.

You should go to the emergency room if you can’t find a doctor who will take you today.

I understand what you mean when you say that the worst part is not being able to talk clearly. The second time I had it, I was working as a receptionist.
It was a glorious day when I could properly swear again, as well.

I saw a doctor yesterday afternoon and he says he’s had good luck treating it with vitamin B12 shots. So I’ll be getting those three times a week for two weeks, then see him again.

For those who said they’ve had it…when it went away did it disappear all of a sudden or did it gradually wear off?

Gravity, that’s awful that you’ve had it twice. I hope you never get it again. I can’t imagine trying to do something like answering phones and greeting people under those conditions.

I’ve had it twice as well. Once as a child, and the most recent occurence happened last year. I went to the doctor and they gave me some prednisone and they also recommended getting an eye patch and some eye drops to aid in keeping your eye moist. I used the eye patch at night when I went to sleep.

Eating will be difficult, especially liquids. Have a napkin handy. It gradually gets better and it took a while for the majority of the symptoms to disappear (~6 months), but I can still see a minor difference in my face even now (1.5 years later).

My case was so long ago (20 years) that I’m not confident of my memory. It took me about 6 months to recover. For the first 5 1/2 months, I didn’t have much change. Then within a couple of weeks I was pretty much back to normal. The improvement came relatively quickly.