Understanding Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps are non-cancerous growths that occur in the lining of the nasal passages and sinuses. Polyps develop when mucus membranes become inflamed for a long period of time and form fluid-filled growths, which later expand and become polyps. Left untreated, they can grow large enough to cause sinus infections and breathing problems.

Who Is Most Likely to Develop Nasal Polyps? Understanding Nasal Polyps

People with conditions that trigger nasal inflammation are most likely to develop nasal polyps. These conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Allergy to aspirin/other OTC pain relievers
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Allergy to airborne fungi
  • Other acute or chronic infections

How Do I Know if I Have a Nasal Polyp?

There are many possible signs of a nasal polyp, including:

  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Loss of taste/smell
  • Headache
  • Sinus pressure
  • Snoring

How Are Nasal Polyps Treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for nasal polyps, but there are a few options for treatment. Most commonly, medications like corticosteroid nasal sprays and pills are prescribed for nasal polyps. Antibiotics may also be prescribed if there is an infection caused by bacteria.

Surgery is another treatment option, but only for more severe cases. Type of surgery depends on severity of polyps. The most common procedure for nasal polyps is endoscopic surgery – an outpatient procedure wherein the surgeon uses an endoscope (small tube with light and video camera on the end) to examine the nose, remove the polyp and open the sinus cavities so they can drain.

If left untreated, nasal polyps can cause chronic sinus infections, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), asthma flareups and even double vision.

Can Nasal Polyps Be Prevented?

The key to preventing nasal polyps is to manage underlying conditions that cause inflammation. For example, you should be sure to…

  • Follow doctors’ instructions for managing asthma and allergies.
  • Avoid breathing in airborne allergens and other irritants that cause inflammation of the nose.
  • Practice good hygiene and keep your home clean.
  • Use a humidifier at night to moisten the breathing passages.
  • Use a saline nasal rinse to flush allergens and irritants that can cause polyps.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with an expert ENT physician, call Topeka ENT today.

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