Nasal Polyps: What Are They and What to Do If You Have Them

What Are Nasal Polyps? What To Do If You Have Them

Nasal Polyps

When the teardrop growth (called polyps) forms in the soft lining of the sinuses, most often in small clusters, doctors call these noncancerous tumors “nasal polyps.” These mostly harmless polyps can occur on either side or both sides of the nasal cavity. These growths are ordinarily painless and rarely noticed outside of a nasal examination. Research has found that this condition occurs more often in patients with previously documented issues with the sinuses like allergies and asthma and affects about 4 percent of the population.

What are the symptoms?

The majority of symptoms are typically mistaken for allergies or a seasonal cold, which is expected as these symptoms are also associated with colds, the flu, and allergies. The difference is that these conditions will last much longer if polyps have caused them. Sometimes the polyps can grow large enough to create issues. Common symptoms of include:

  • Postnasal drip/ Runny nose
  • Congestion/ Loss of smell
  • Persistent cough/ Trouble breathing
  • Sinus pressure
  • Itchy eyes
  • Headaches/ Facial pain

What to do if you have nasal polyps?

There is no need to panic if your doctor has discovered that you have nasal polyps; most of the time, the polyps presented are too small to cause any issues. If they have been causing problems, getting treatment can significantly relieve symptoms that have lowered quality of life, like sleeping interruptions. To confirm the existence of nasal polyps, doctors use visual procedures like MRI, CT scans, or a rhinoscopy to locate potential issues.

Research has indicated that polyp growth is controlled by genetics, which means it can run in families, and they have a tendency to grow back, sometimes requiring treatments regularly. Once the polyps are found, depending on the severity, medications for allergies, antihistamines, therapeutic nasal sprays, and biological medications can help to clear up polyps without the need for surgery. However, if the polyps do not respond or clear up, your doctor may recommend you see an otolaryngologist for surgical removal, also known as a polypectomy.

Living with nasal polyps can be very frustrating and uncomfortable. But with proper treatments and follow-ups combined with improved lifestyle changes and preventive measures, the impact of polyps can be managed effectively.

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