WARNING - GRAPHIC IMAGES: Student has her life transformed after nose surgery

A student who suffered horrific breathing difficulties has told how her life has been transformed - by having surgery to remove huge slug-like growths from her nose.

Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 10:12 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 12:12 pm

Julia Khalil, aged21, says she’d been plagued by breathing problems her entire life. She’d wake up gasping for oxygen, struggled to exercise and was even left with agonising cramps in her back, ribs and chest as her lungs took the strain.Worse still, Julia says she was also too ashamed to study in the library - because her breathing was so loud she’d get dirty looks from other students. And now Julia has discovered the cause of her anguish - enlarged and swollen ‘turbinates’. Turbinate are projections of soft tissue in the nasal cavities and function as air filters. They should be short, thin strips of flesh. But in Julia’s case, they’d swollen to nightmarish proportions, blocking her nasal passage - and resembled garden slugs when removed!READ MORE: Doncaster hospital receives 10,000 knitted donations after social media appeal

Julia ultimately had turbinate reduction and tip refinement surgery with UK surgeon Dr Bashar Bizrah, founder of the Beyond Med Centre in Kensington London and Dubai, costing around £9,000. And she’s urging others to seek help. Julia, studying Management at the The University of Central Lancashire, explains: “For most of my life, I haven’t been able to breathe properly. “And when you’re always struggling for oxygen, it can be a miserable experience. “I used to wake up in the middle of the night with horrific cramps in my back, ribs and chest, because my body was always fighting to breathe. "And I always had difficulty sleeping, too, often waking up gasping for breath. “If I ever tried exercising, I would have to breathe through my mouth. Everything was restricted."But one of the worst things was when I was in a quiet place, everyone could hear me breathing. They would give me funny looks, I felt awful and would try and avoid places like the library."Some people would openly say I annoyed them because I breathed so loudly.”To compound Julia’s problems, when she was 12 she was diagnosed with scoliosis - a curvature of the spine.Her doctors assumed this was the cause of her breathing problems - and so the turbinates were overlooked until she eventually underwent surgery earlier this year. READ MORE: Doncaster widower backs campaign to fund test for pancreatic cancer in memory of his wife

Speaking about her scoliosis diagnosis, Julia adds: “I had to wear three different braces over three years to try and correct my posture. “They were essentially corsets designed to straighten my back.“But while they corrected one problem, they caused my breathing to be even more limited. “I had six years of physio, too, but that did little to sort my breathing issues either.”In the end, a friend pointed out that Julia’s turbinates might be enlarged or swollen. A consultation with Dr Bizrah then confirmed the suspicions - and the subsequent surgery itself lasted just 30 minutes, while under local anaesthetic. Speaking about her shock at seeing the removed portions of turbinates, she laughs: “They were enormous! "Side by side, they were about the size of large slugs!“Almost instantly, I could breathe so much more easily. And since then, I’ve been able to sleep better and I can go for a run without having to worry about catching my breath. “I honestly feel like a vacuum cleaner, I can inhale so much. The more I think about how my life was before, the more I appreciated how it’s changed for the better. “I’m definitely not taking it for granted, because I know how much I used to suffer. “Now, when I'm in a quiet room, I'm not the loud one that everyone is staring at anymore. I'm not the annoying one making breathing noises."I don’t have to avoid quiet rooms and I can study in the library. It's changed my life."During Julia’s surgery she also had correction to a deviated septum - a bent nasal passage that also restricts air flow.Meanwhile Dr Bizrah, a specialist in Otolaryngology - aka ear, nose and throat surgery - and Facial Plastic Surgery, says enlarged turbinates can lead to all sorts of health issues. He explains: “The nasal turbinates are narrow passageways that help to warm and moisten the air that flows in through the nose. “But if they’re too large, they can block airflow. In Julia’s case it’s an issue that went undiagnosed for years. “And in addition to breathing difficulties, you might also experience an altered sense of smell, a dry mouth, pressure in your forehead and facial pain. “You might also mistake it for a prolonged cold, as you’ll typically get nasal congestion, a runny nose and snoring. “I’d like to raise awareness of a condition I suspect is more common than people think.”Turbinates can become enlarged through a number of ways - and they also grow slightly as we get older. Stress, fatigue, hormone changes, thyroid disorders and pregnancy can all cause the turbinates to become inflamed, irritated and enlarged. READ MORE: Doncaster women have a less healthy life than women elsewhere in England

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Julia Khalil

Dr Bizrah adds: “If the turbinates don’t reduce in size, or if you’re not responding to other treatments, then you could be left with a problem where surgical intervention is necessary.”According to the NHS, alternatives to surgery include steroid nasal sprays or drops, decongestant nasal sprays, antibiotics, antihistamines, steroid tablets. Meanwhile you should also try to reduce your exposure to environmental allergens by trying to remove excess dust and pet hair from homes, protect your mattress from dust mites, remove mold and mildew, or installing a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom. https://drbasharbizrah.com/

The removed turbinates
One of the turbinates