Nasal Polyps

What are Nasal Polyps?

Nasal polyps are painless growths on the lining of your nasal cavity or on your sinuses.  They are not cancerous and hang like small grapes.  They can be the result of inflammations from allergies, asthma, recurring infections or some immune disorders.  There may be no symptoms at all.  They are more common in adults than in children.

What are the Symptoms of Nasal Polyps?

Nasal polyps are small and generally do not have any feeling. You might not even know you have them if they are really small.  Larger nasal polyps can block your sinuses or the nasal passages.

Some of the symptoms of nasal polyps include ongoing stuffiness and runny nose, dripping nose, headache or facial pain, pressure in the face or forehead, itchy eyes, snoring, and minimized or lost sense of smell or taste.

Nasal Polyps Causes

It’s not very well understood exactly what causes nasal polyps. They are associated with long term nasal inflammation, though they’re not always present with inflammation. There is some evidence that people who tend to develop polyps have different chemical markers in the mucous membranes in their nose. They also tend to have a different immune system response than those who don’t develop polyps.

Any condition that causes chronic inflammation in the nasal passages or sinuses can lead to polyps. These conditions include any kind of infection or allergy that lasts for a significant amount of time. Other conditions such as asthma, Aspirin sensitivity, Churg-Strauss syndrome, and cystic fibrosis can all be causes as well.

How are Nasal Polyps Treated?

Treating nasal polyps usually involves treating the condition that causes them to occur in the first place. So, allergies, chronic sinusitis, or other problems will be part of the treatment plan.  After treating the condition that causes the nasal polyps to grow, the polyps will be treated to reduce the size or remove them.

Medications are usually the first treatment that is suggested by doctors.  Nasal corticosteroids can be used to get rid of polyps completely.  There are also oral and injectable corticosteroids that may be more effective if the polyps are severe.

If the medication treatment is not enough to get rid of nasal polyps, endoscopic surgery may be suggested by your doctor. This involves the use of a small tube and a magnifying lens or camera to allow the doctor to remove the polyps.  A corticosteroid nasal spray after the surgery can help the polyps from recurring.

Nasal Polyps Prevention

Preventing nasal polyps comes down to preventing the conditions that commonly lead to long term or chronic nasal or sinus inflammation.

Allergies can be managed in many different ways. Reducing exposure to the allergen is the simplest and most effective. Avoid places where your allergens are present. If you do need to expose yourself to them, consider wearing a breathing mask. Change your clothes and shower as soon as you’ve left to remove allergens stuck to your skin and clothes and consider buying an indoor air filter and cleaning your home often. There have been studies that show eating more fruits and vegetables reduce the chances of your allergies flaring up. Natural remedies, such as neti pots, have also helped many.

Infection can be prevented by strengthening your immune system. A good diet and exercise have been shown to do this. There is also some evidence that probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt and kimchi, can strengthen the immune system. Frequently washing your hands is another great way to reduce your exposure to germs.