Nasal polyps are soft and painless benign growths on the lining of the sinuses and nasal passages. Nasal polyps hang down as grapes or teardrops. Polyps can occur in one or both nostrils at a time. They can occur due to allergies, chronic infection, drug sensitivity, some immune disorders, or chronic inflammation because of asthma. You may not experience symptoms if you have small nasal polyps. People with many nasal polyps or larger growths may experience blockage in the nasal passages, breathing problems, frequent infections and loss of sense of smell. Nasal polyps are more prone to adults and males but they can affect any person. Your doctor may prescribe you certain medicines in order to eliminate or shrink nasal polyps. In some cases, surgery is required in order to remove nasal polyps. There is a possibility that nasal polyps can return even after proper treatment.
It is not necessary that you will experience symptoms if you have nasal polyps. Due to polyps, there can be a blockage in the nasal passages leading to chronic congestion. Check out various signs or symptoms of nasal polyps:
- People with nasal polyps may have a sensation that their nose is blocked.
- Due to nasal polyps, people may not sense the smell properly.
- People with nasal polyps may feel a pressure in the face or forehead.
- Nasal polyps can make you breathe through the mouth.
- Running nose, nasal stuffiness, and nasal congestion are all the possible signs of nasal polyps.
- You may suffer from sleep apnea due to nasal polyps. Postnasal drip is a situation in which excess mucus collects in the back of the nose or throat.
- Snoring can be a symptom of nasal polyps.
- If you also have a sinus infection with the nasal polyps then you may also suffer from headaches or pain.
The causes of polyps are still not known. There is no clarification on the part that why people get chronic inflammation or why inflammation leads to the formation of nasal polyps in some people and not in other people. The chronic inflammation happens in the mucous membrane of the sinuses and nose. As per some evidence, it is clear that people who get nasal polyps have different chemical makers in the fluid-producing lining and a different response of immune system than people who do not get nasal polyps. Nasal polyps can occur to any person at any age. But it has been noticed that they are more prone to middle-aged and young adults. There is a possibility that people can get nasal polyps with no nasal problems in the past. As per scientists, there can be some possible triggers including:
- Churg-Strauss syndrome
- Cystic fibrosis
- Allergic rhinitis or hay fever
- Recurring or chronic sinus infections
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug sensitivity including aspirin or ibuprofen
As soon as you discover that you have nasal polyps, you should see a doctor as polyps can lead to various complications. Your doctor conducts a general physical examination and also an exam of your nose. Your doctor will check the polyps with the help of a lighted instrument. Your doctor will do a diagnosis depending on your various answers to queries about the symptoms that you are experiencing. Your doctor may ask you to get various diagnostic tests done in order to confirm the diagnosis:
- Nasal endoscopy: Your doctor conducts a detailed examination of the sinuses and nose with the help of a narrow tube with an illuminated magnifying lens or small camera, known as a nasal endoscope. The doctor inserts the nasal endoscope into your nostril and then guides it into your nasal passage or nasal cavity.
- Imaging studies: Your doctor obtains the images with the help of computerized tomography which helps your doctor to point to the location and size of polyps in deeper regions of the sinuses. It also helps the doctor to find out the range of the inflammation. Other obstructions in the nasal cavity including abnormalities in the structure or different type of noncancerous or cancerous growth can be found out by the doctors with the help of these studies.
- Allergy tests: Your doctor may ask you to get the epidermis test done in order to find out if allergies are developing due to chronic inflammation. A skin prick test can be conducted in which a few drops of allergens, substances that might be causing an allergy are pricked into the epidermis of your upper back or forearm. The drops of allergens are left on your epidermis for some minutes. Then your doctor observes your epidermis to check the signs or symptoms of allergic reactions. If it not possible to conduct a skin test then your doctor may ask you to get a blood test done that find out specific antibodies to allergens.
- Test for cystic fibrosis: If it is diagnosed that your child has nasal polyps then your doctor may order you to get the tests done for cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder in which the lungs and digestive system damage and it can threaten the life of the affected person. The diagnostic test for cystic fibrosis is a sweat test which is noninvasive that determines if the perspiration of your child is saltier as compared to the sweat of most people.
Check out various ways that will help you to get prevention from nasal polyps:
- If you feel the dry air in your home then you should use a humidifier.
- You should wash your hands frequently especially after coming from outside or before starting a meal. This helps to reduce the chances of catching a viral or bacterial infection which can lead to a case of inflammation of the nasal passages and sinuses.
- You should avoid those substances that can create an irritation including chemicals, airborne pollutants, and some allergens. This may help you to reduce the chances of developing nasal polyps.
- You should manage your allergies and asthma properly. It is important to follow whatever is recommended by your doctor related to allergy and asthma treatment as it will reduce the risk of developing polyps.
- You should rinse the nasal passages with a saline spray or nasal lavage as it will help you to remove allergens and irritants and make better the flow of mucus.
It is a challenge to clear polyps completely. Your doctor will suggest you the best treatment option as per your condition in order to manage your symptoms and treat the factors that can lead to chronic inflammation. The treatment is given so that the size of polyps can be reduced or polyps can be eliminated. Initially, medicines are given to treat the affected person. In certain situations, the doctor may prescribe to go for a surgery. There is a possibility that polyps can recur that is why surgery is not a permanent treatment option.
In the treatment of nasal polyps, the doctor generally prescribes medicines in the starting. The medicines help to shrink and remove the polyps even the larger ones. Check out various medicines for the treatment of polyps:
- Nasal corticosteroids: Your doctor may prescribe nasal corticosteroid spray that will help you to minimize inflammation. By this treatment, polyps can eliminate or shrink. Budesonide (Rhinocort), fluticasone (Veramyst, Flonase), mometasone (Nasonex), flunisolide, ciclesonide (Omnaris), beclomethasone (Beconase AQ), and triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24HR) are some of the nasal corticosteroids.
- Oral and injectable corticosteroids: Your doctor may recommend you an oral corticosteroid including prednisone if a nasal corticosteroid does not work for you. You can take it alone or in combination with a spray related to the nose. There are some side effects of oral corticosteroids that is why they are taken for a short period. If you have severe nasal polyps then your doctor may recommend injectable corticosteroids.
- Other medications: To treat the conditions which may contribute to inflammation (chronic) in the sinuses and nasal passages, a doctor may prescribe medication to curb the same. In order to treat allergies, antihistamines are used and to treat a recurring chronic infection, antibiotics are used. Patients with aspirin sensitivity and nasal polyps may get benefit from the treatment of aspirin desensitization.
If medications are not effective in eliminating or shrinking polyps then the doctor may ask you to go for endoscopic surgery. This will help in solving the problems related to sinuses and removing nasal polyps. In the surgery, the surgeon inserts a tiny tube with a camera or magnifying lens into the nostrils and guides the tube into the sinus cavities. Some instruments are used to eliminate nasal polyps and other obstacles that block the fluids from the sinuses. The affected person can be discharged on the same day of the surgery. Your doctor may recommend the patient to use the nasal spray after the surgery in order to prevent polyps from recurring. Saltwater (saline) rinse may also be prescribed by the doctor to catalyze the process of healing after the surgery.
Complications occur due to nasal polyps because it restricts the normal airflow, fluid drainage and also because of the degenerative inflammation that underlies their development. The major complications of nasal polyps generally include the following:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: In this chronic condition you usually stop and begin to breathe frequently during the time you sleep.
- Asthma flare-ups: The serious and chronic rhinosinusitis can cause and even worsen the condition of asthma.
- Sinus infections: It has been observed that you are more likely to get sinus infections if you suffer from the disease nasal polyps. These sinus infections occur very frequently and sometimes, they can also become serious or chronic.
- Disfigured structure of the face: Nasal polyps can alter the shape or structure of the face which consequently causes the condition of double vision. Often if the patient has cystic fibrosis, he or she can have eyes which are set wider apart than they are normally.
- Complications due to surgery: When nasal polyps are treated, especially by surgery, they can cause severe nosebleeds. Along with that, surgery in case of nasal polyps can also cause infections. If the treatment with nasal steroids sprays or oral corticosteroids is continued, it can reduce your ability to fight off and counteract sinus infections.
Noncancerous, soft, painless growths which may form on one’s sinuses or nasal passages are known as nasal polyps. They may look like teardrops or hanging grapes. Due to allergies, asthma, drug sensitivity, recurring infection or some immune disorders may result from chronic inflammation.
People generally do not experience symptoms when they have small nasal polyps. Nasal polyps may lead to breathing problems, frequent infections blockage in the nasal passages, and loss of sense of smell. Men are more prone to nasal polyps than women. Polyps can happen to a person of any age.
If you are looking for the answers to various questions including:
- What are nasal polyps?
- What are the signs or symptoms of nasal polyps?
- What is the exact cause of nasal polyps?
- How are nasal polyps diagnosed?
- How are nasal polyps prevented?
- How are nasal polyps treated?
- What are the various complications associated with nasal polyps?
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