What Is Trigeminal Neuralgia and What Causes It?

Q:
What is trigeminal neuralgia and what causes it?

A:
Definition

Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from your face to your brain. Mild stimulation of your face might trigger a jolt of excruciating pain. Trigeminal neuralgia affects women more often than men, and it’s more likely to occur in people who are older than 50.

Causes

Trigeminal neuralgia is caused by the contact between a normal blood vessel and the trigeminal nerve at the base of brain. Causes may include:

  • Aging.
  • Multiple sclerosis or a similar disorder that damages the myelin sheath protecting certain nerves.
  • A tumor compressing the trigeminal nerve.
  • A brain lesion or other abnormalities.
  • Surgical injuries.
  • Stroke.
  • Facial trauma.

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