Have you ever had a condition where the cold does not go away? You might be having Nasal Polyps.
Nasal Polyps are soft, painless, noncancerous growths on the lining of your nasal passages or sinuses.
Moreover, they hang down like teardrops or grapes in your nostril.s
They result from chronic inflammation and are also associated with asthma, recurring infection, allergies, drug sensitivity, or certain immune disorders.
It is important to note that small nasal polys may not cause symptoms.
However, larger growths or groups of nasal polyps can block your nasal passages or lead to breathing problems.
As a result, you may also lose the sense of smell and have frequent infections.
Nasal polyps can affect anyone, however, they are more common in adults.
With the help of medications, you can help reduce, shrink or even eliminate nasal polyps.
In some cases, however, you may need surgery to remove them.
Keep in reading to learn more about it in detail.
Symptoms of Nasal Polyps
Nasal polyps often come with irritation and swelling i.e. inflammation of the lining of your nasal passages and sinus. Moreover, it can last for more than 12 weeks, thus resulting in chronic sinusitis.
However, it is also possible to have chronic sinusitis without nasal polyps.
Nasal polyps are soft and lack sensation themselves, so if they are small, you may not be aware of their presence.
On the other hand, multiple growths or large polyps may block your nasal passages and sinus.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of chronic sinusitis with nasal polyps are:
Additionally, you may also have symptoms like:
- pain in your upper teeth
- a sense of pressure over your forehead and face
- frequent nosebleeds
Causes of Nasal Polyps
Nasal polyps tend to grow in the inflamed tissues of your nasal mucosa. The mucosa is a very wet layer that helps to protect the inside of your nose and sinuses.
Moreover, it is also responsible for humidifying the air you breathe.
During an infection or allergy-induced irritation, this nasal mucosa becomes swollen and red.
It may also produce fluids that drip out. In case of prolonged or persistent irritation, the mucosa may form a polyp.
A polyp is a round grown like a small cyst that can also block nasal passages.
Though in some cases, people may develop polyps with no previous nasal problems, there is often a trigger for developing polyp.
These triggers are:
Chronic or recurring sinus infections, asthma, allergic rhinitis or hay fever, cystic fibrosis, Churg-Strauss syndrome, or sensitivity to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs like ibuprofen or aspirin.
It is important to note that scientists or doctors do not fully understand the causes of nasal polyps, why some people develop long-term inflammation, or why irritation and swelling trigger them to form in some not others.
There is some evidence that these polls may form due to different immune responses and different chemical markers in their mucous membranes.
Furthermore, nasal polyps can form at any age, however, they are most common in young and middle-aged adults.
They also tend to appear more often in the area where the sinus near your eyes, nose, and cheekbones drain through the windpipe into your nose.
Risk Factors for Nasal Polyps
Certain conditions that trigger long-term irritation and swelling in your nasal passages or sinuses like infection or allergy may increase your risk for developing this condition.
Some of the other conditions that are associated with nasal polyps are:
Asthma: This disease can cause the airways to swell or inflame and narrow.
Aspirin Sensitivity: Causes harmful reactions to aspirin and can lead to problems in breathing, nasal or sinus, and skin problems.
Allergic Fungal Sinusitis: An allergy to airborne fungi
Cystic Fibrosis: A genetic disorder that results in abnormally thick, sticky fluids in the body, including thick mucus from nasal and sinus linings.
Churg-Strauss Syndrome: Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with polyangiitis is a rare disease that causes the inflammation of blood vessels.
Vitamin D Deficiency: It occurs when your body does not have enough vitamin D.
Moreover, in some cases, your family history may also play a role.
There is some evidence that suggests that certain genetic variations associated with immune system function can make you more likely to develop polyps.
Complications of Nasal Polyps
Nasal polyps can cause certain complications.
This is because they block normal airflow and fluid drainage and also because of the long-term irritation and inflammation underlying their development.
Some of the potential complications are:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A potentially serious complication in which you stop and start breathing frequently during sleep.
Asthma Flare-ups: Chronic sinusitis can make asthma worse.
Sinus Infections: Nasal polyps can make you more susceptible to a sinus infection that can also recur.
Diagnosing Nasal Polyps
Your doctor will make a diagnosis that is based on your answers to the questions they will ask related to the symptoms you are experiencing.
Moreover, a general physical exam, as well as an examination of your nose, can help them to make a diagnosis.
Polyps may also be visible with the help or aid of a simple lighted instrument.
Some of the other diagnostic tests your doctor may order are:
In this procedure, your doctor will insert a narrow tube with a lighted magnifying lens or tiny camera to perform an examination inside your nose and sinuses.
With the help o a CT scan, your doctor can pinpoint the size and location of polyps in deeper areas of your sinuses and also evaluate the extent of swelling and irritation.
Moreover, it can also help your doctor to rule out other possible blockages in your nasal cavity.
These include structural abnormalities or other types of cancerous or noncancerous growths.
In some cases, your doctor can suggest skin tests to determine if allergies are contributing to chronic inflammation.
With the help of a prick test, they will place tiny drops of allergy-causing agents or allergens on your skin and then observe the signs of allergic reactions.
However, if your doctor cannot perform a skin test, then will order a blood test that screens for specific antibodies to various allergens.
Other Tests for Diagnosis
Some other tests for diagnosing nasal polyps are:
Test for Cystic Fibrosis
In case your doctor diagnosis your child with nasal polyps, your doctor may suggest testing for cystic fibrosis.
It is an inherited condition that affects the glands that reduce mucus, sweat, saliva, and digestive juices.
It is a noninvasive sweat test in which it helps to determine whether the precipitation of your child is saltier than most people’s sweat is.
Your doctor may order blood tests for low levels of vitamin D, which are often associated with nasal polyps.
Chronic sinusitis is a challenging condition, with or without polyps, and can time to clear up.
You will work with your health care provider to develop the appropriate long-term treatment plan that will help to manage your symptoms and treat factors.
These include allergies that may be contributing to chronic inflammation.
The treatment goal is to reduce the size or eliminate nasal polyps.
Using certain medication is the first approach your doctor will use.
On the other hand, you may need surgery, however, it may not provide a permanent solution as polyps tend to recur.
Nasal polyps treatment often starts with using drugs that can make even larger polyps shrink or disappear.
Moreover, these include:
Your doctor will prescribe a corticosteroid nasal spray to reduce swelling and irritation. This treatment will help to shrink the polyps or eliminate them completely.
Oral and Injectable Corticosteroids
In case nasal corticosteroids are not effective, your doctor may prescribe an oral corticosteroid like prednisone, either alone r in combination with a nasal spray.
As oral corticosteroids can have serious complications, you will need to take them for a short time.
On the other hand, injectable corticosteroids can help if nasal polyps are severe.
Medications to Treat Nasal Polyps and Chronic Sinusitis
In case you have both nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis, your doctor may inject a medication: Duplimab to treat your condition.
This medication can help to reduce the size of nasal polyps and congestion.
Your doctor may also prescribe other drugs to treat conditions that contribute to long-term swelling in your sinuses or nasal passages.
Moreover, these may include antihistamines to treat allergies and antibiotics to treat chronic or recurring infections.
Aspirin desensitization, under the care of an allergy specialist with experience in desensitization, may benefit from nasal polyps and aspirin sensitivity.
The treatment involves a gradual increase in the amount of aspirin you take while under the care of your doctor or clinic to help your body tolerate taking aspirin in the long term.
If drug treatment does not shrink or eliminate nasal polyps, you will need endoscopic surgery to remove polyps and to correct problems with your sinuses that make them prone to inflammation and the development of this condition.
In this surgery, the surgeon will insert a small tube with a lighted magnifying lens or a tiny camera, i.e. endoscope in your nostrils, and guide it into your sinus cavities.
They will then use tiny instruments to remove polyps and other substances that block the flow of fluids from your sinuses.
Moreover, they may also enlarge the openings that lead from your sinuses to the nasal passages.
Endoscopic surgery is an outpatient procedure and after surgery, you will most likely need to use corticosteroids nasal spray to help prevent the recurrence of nasal polyps.
Your doctor may also recommend using saltwater or saline rinse to promote healing after surgery.
With the help of certain preventive tips, you can reduce your chances of developing nasal polyps or having nasal polyps recur after treatment with the following tips:
Manage Allergies and Asthma: It is important to follow the recommendations of your doctor.
If your symptoms do not get better or get out of control, talk to your doctor about changing your treatment plan.
Avoid Nasal Irritants: Avoid breathing in airborne substances that cab contributes to swelling or irritation in your nose and sinuses.
These include allergens, tobacco smoke, chemical fumes, and dust and fine debris.
Practice Good Hygiene: Make sure to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly and it is one of the best ways to protect against any bacterial and viral infections that can cause inflammation.
Humidify your Home: Using a humidifier can help to moisten your breathing passages, improve the flow of mucus from your sinuses.
Moreover, it can help to prevent blockages and inflammation. However, make sure to clean the humidifier to prevent bacteria from growing.
Using Nasal Rinse: Use a salt water spray or nasal wash to rinse your nasal passages. Furthermore, it can also help to improve the mucus flow and remove allergens and other irritants.
You can either purchase over-the-counter saline sprays or nasal wash kits with devices like a neti pot or squeeze bottle.
However, make sure to use distilled, sterile, or boiled water for irrigation solution.
With surgical treatment, most symptoms get better. However, if you have lost your sense of smell, it may never return. Even after surgery, nasal polyps may regrow in about 15% of people with chronic nasal problems.