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Forum Name: Viral Infections

Question: Bell's Palsy is from Viral Infection?


 cstevens970 - Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:01 am

First had loss of taste left side tongue then 2 weeks later ear infection and then woke up week later and couldn't smile, blink, talk out of left side of face..ENT said I had Bell's Palsy gave me steroids and all face movement was back to normal in 3 weeks..I occasionaly get the ticks in my eye but he said my nerve is just healing...the problem is I still have no taste on the left side of tongue..my primary believes that some of the viral infection is still present but unfortuneatly for me there is no test for this..she suggested I start taking refridgerated acidoupholous (sorry if spelled wrong).. I recently have had throat, tonsil, and roof of mouth pain and it's worse when I eat(anything)...haven't started the acidoupholous yet...my primary question is can my tongue still have viral infection or is that even possible and has anyone heard of loss of taste and on and off redness on left side of tongue from nerves healing brough on by Bell's Palsy--7th nerve I believe?? any comments/suggestions would be great.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:46 pm

User avatar Hello -

Yes, it is believed (strongly) that Bell's palsy is likely caused by a virus, and the herpes simplex virus is the prime suspect.

The effects of Bell's palsy can be diffuse and can last for indeterminate periods of time. While there is a statistical average recovery period, it is drawn from many different reports and a variety of outcomes, so it's still pretty difficult to predict how long it may take for any given individual to fully recover all functions. While the tongue itself is not likely infected with the virus, the 7th cranial nerve (facial neve) takes its sweet time in recovering its function, whether the virus is active or not. The virus may lie dormant indefinitely, but only recurs in a very low number of patients. The recovery period, in 2/3 of patients, is complete at some point within a year or less. The rest take longer.

Given there is visible and localized inflammation and pain in your tongue, you may have active herpes simplex (or other) viral infection of a branch of the nerve still, which is somewhat different from typical Bell's palsy. I'm unfamiliar with the acidophilus therapy, but if your doctor recommends this, I'd get started quickly in the hopes of gaining whatever benefit it may offer.

Best of luck to you with this. Please follow up with us as needed.
 cstevens970 - Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:29 pm

Thanks for the info John as it was very informative..I went to an infectious disease specialist here in Tampa and he said I "for sure" I don't have herpes virus as of now...he also said what you mentioned that the nerve that was inflammed takes a long time to reguvinate..he said it's like little tiny branches reforming and growing again...said even though all other symptoms from the Bells Palsy went away in May 3 weeks after onset the tongue would take longer to heal cause of the unique nerves within it and it's where my first symptom is...he also said something interesting that I wasn't aware of..he asked if I grind my teeth at night and I said yes cause I also suffer from anxiety and have TMJ..he said if I buy a bite guard I would notice improvement within 2 weeks...apparently maybe I am grinding that side of my tongue a bit..anyway thanks for your knowledge and I appreciate it:)
Chris
 John Kenyon, CNA - Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:18 am

User avatar It's really good to know you don't have herpes, dormant or otherwise. That's one less thing to have flare up later. The tooth-grinding/TMJ/anxiety theory is pretty sound, too. Many people do this and are totally unaware of it. This is one of the lesser-recognized causes of trigeminal neuralgia (and although they're both very painful, if one must have an inflamed nerve, that one is preferable to the glosspharyngeal one, which could have been involved instead, but now definitely sounds like it's not).

It will be interesting to see how much and how quickly the bite guard causes improvement. This would be a great discovery for you if it pans out.

Good luck with this, you're very welcome, and keep us updated.

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