Tulisa has revealed she has Bell’s palsy, a type of paralysis that temporarily affects the ability to control the facial muscles.
Speaking to ITV’s Loose Women, the singer and former X Factor judge said she sustained nerve damage after a horse riding accident.
“I do suffer from Bell’s palsy… it can cause facial paralysis, it can cause swelling,” she explained.
“I think the first attack I had was after a serious horse-riding accident.
“I fractured my skull and it caused a lot of nerve damage.”
It is the first time the N-Dubz star, whose full name is Tulisa Contostavlos, has revealed the diagnosis.
“At any time, I have emergency steroids on me, and now luckily I know how to manage it, so the attacks don’t last as long,” she explained.
“There have actually been times when people have criticised me for the way I look and my face, not knowing I’m actually going through a Bell’s palsy attack.”
She added: “If you have steroids within a 72 hour period, it can last days instead of seven months, which happened to me the first time. I was hiding in the house.”
What is Bell’s palsy?
The most common facial palsy, it causes temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face, with the symptoms varying from person to person.
The weakness on one side of the face can be described as either a partial palsy, a mild muscle weakness, or a complete palsy, which is no movement at all.
Bell’s palsy can also affect the eyelid and mouth, making them difficult to close and open.
It is not known exactly what causes Bell’s palsy but links have been made to viruses.
Symptoms can include a facial droop, pain in the inner ear, chronic pain, difficulty with eating and speaking, and the inability to close one eye.