What Causes Nasal Polyps? + Symptoms and TreatmentsGeneral
The nasal polyp is a collection of non-obstructive benign cells that mainly occurs in the nasal passages, sinuses, and at the back of the nose and cheeks. These pear-shaped polyps range in size from microscopic to a few centimeters. These lateral tumors can cause nasal congestion, sinus pressure, and runny nose. It also can be cured by rhinoplasty procedure.
Nasal Polyps Symptoms
The nasal polyp has no specific symptoms in the early stages, but gradually as the polyps grow larger, some symptoms develop, such as nasal congestion, headache, loss of the sense of smell and taste, cough, and sinus pressure. However, these symptoms are often confused with flu or cold symptoms. In these cases, if symptoms persist, it is advisable to see an ENT specialist.
Who are the most likely candidates for Nasal Polyp?
Nasal polyps associated with sinusitis and allergy to aspirin and ibuprofen mostly occur in adults, while nasal polyps associated with cystic fibrosis are more common in children.
Causes of Nasal Polyps
The exact cause of nasal polyp complications has not yet been determined. However, these benign tumors are also known as chronic rhinosinusitis.
Rhinosinusitis is associated with factors such as severe respiratory diseases, upper respiratory tract infection, and secondhand smoke (the smoke that comes from a burning cigarette, hookah, tobacco pipe, and so on which has been exhaled or breathed out by the person smoking and inhaled by others). Polyps in some people also occur due to the body’s abnormal response to certain pollutants.
How Are Nasal Polyps Diagnosed?
For diagnosing nasal polyps, your doctor probably asks you to provide a detailed medical history containing information about your previous allergies, infections, asthma, symptoms, and how long you’ve had them.
Sometimes, the doctor examines the nose with a nasal endoscope or performs a CT scan to take pictures of the sinuses and locate the polyps. Another way of diagnosing nasal polyps is taking allergy tests to determine the source of nasal inflammation.
Is a Nasal Polyp Visible?
Due to their position in the nasal cavity, nasal polyps are invisible to the naked eye. The doctor uses an endoscope equipped with a camera to diagnose the cause of nasal congestion and polyps.
The Complications of Nasal Polyps
- Disturbance in normal drainage and ventilation of sinuses
- Blockage of the natural flow of sputum
- Developing infection
Can these polyps hurt or bleed?
Most of these polyps have no pain or bleeding. But if you notice bleeding or feel pain without a specific cause, it is recommended to see a doctor, especially if these symptoms occur on one side of the nose. In this case, the doctor may prescribe polyp sampling.
Nasal Polyp Treatment
Depending on the size and number of nasal polyps, the doctor may use medication, surgery, or both.
Medications for polyps, which are usually in the form of nasal spray or oral pills, are used to reduce the size of the polyps or minimize their symptoms. Steroid nasal sprays such as fluticasone, budesonide, and mometasone are mainly used to prevent runny noses or reduce the discomfort caused by polyps. Oral medications such as prednisone are prescribed only when the sprays don’t work. Although oral and injectable medications are helpful, they have serious complications, including high blood pressure, eye pressure, etc. Moreover, antibiotics or anti-allergy medications will be prescribed if the cause of nasal polyps is asthma or infection.
The doctor suggests surgical treatment if your body does not react to polyp’s medications efficiently. In cases where the polyp size is small, the surgeon removes the obstruction by a suction device. However, if the polyp is large, the doctor first locates the obstacle with an endoscope and then removes it using surgical instruments. Of course, most people prefer cosmetic nasal surgery (rhinoplasty) and the polyp removal process simultaneously.
How Nasal Polyps Are Removed?
Nasal polypectomy is the surgical treatment of nasal polyps, during which the obstruction is removed. The nasal polypectomy involves the following steps:
- On the morning of the surgery, you should go to the hospital or clinic with an empty stomach. Make sure that you didn’t take blood thinners or anti-inflammatory medications for a week before the operation.
- The surgeon uses small cameras and micro-surgical instruments to locate and remove the polyps during the surgery. Since all these tools are inserted into your nose through your nostrils, no incisions are made on or inside your nose.
- After removing the polyps, you will be transferred to the recovery room, and a nurse will check your vital signs.
- You may get discharged on the same day, depending on your health condition.
Can Polyps Come Back After Treatment?
Occurring nasal polyps after removal often depends on the method of drug therapy or surgery and the complete elimination of their cause of creation. If the causes of nasal polyps are not resolved, these tumors will return. It is recommended to consult your doctor about how to prevent the polyps not to come back again.
How to Prevent Nasal Polyps
In general, it is almost impossible to prevent nasal polyps, but you can reduce their growth by considering the following tips:
- Take prescribed medications such as nasal corticosteroids spray or oral steroid;
- If you have underlying conditions such as allergy or asthma, treat them;
- Avoid breathing airborne allergens that cause inflammation of your nose and sinus cavities;
- Use a humidifier to increase the humidity of your environment;
- Rinse your nose twice or three times a day to moisten your nasal passages and prevent inflammation;
- Create a personal hygiene routine.
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