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Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of trigeminal neuralgia

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of trigeminal neuralgia

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of trigeminal neuralgia

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a painful condition, usually affecting one side of the face. It is an uncommon clinical condition which may arise due to compression of 5th cranial nerve, also known by the name of ‘trigeminal nerve’.

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Incidence, age and sex

Trigeminal neuralgia is not a frequently encountered condition. It mainly affects individuals in their 60s, but it may affect an individual at younger age too. It is slightly more common in women as compared to men.

Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia include brief but intense spells of pain affecting one side of the face. Very rarely, the pain may affect the whole face. The pain is typically sharp, similar to a shock-like sensation, lasting for a few seconds to 2 minutes. The episodes between such spells are fortunately free from pain. Certain activities like talking, shaving, or chewing may trigger these painful spells. Some individuals may also complain of numbness and tingling sensation on the face.

Neurological examination by the physician is generally normal corroborating the diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia. However, an MRI scan may also be advised to detect any lesion which may be compressing the 5th nerve, resulting in trigeminal neuralgia.

Causes and prevention

The exact cause of trigeminal neuralgia is not clear. In most of the cases, no cause has been identified. However traumatic damage to the 5th nerve or compression of the nerve by abnormal blood vessels in the skull may result in trigeminal neuralgia. A neurological disease, multiple sclerosis, may cause trigeminal neuralgia in young individuals.

Complications

Sometimes, the pain in trigeminal neuralgia in quite intense, incapacitating the individual, who may become afraid to eat in anticipation of pain. Sometimes, the pain can be severe enough to disturb sleep. However the condition is mostly distressing and not life-threatening.

Submit a request for further information, a quotation or indicative cost. Your enquiry will be forwarded to up to 3 private healthcare providers. They will respond directly with further information.

Get a quote for trigeminal neuralgia treatment >

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