Nasal polyps are obstruction in the nasal passage that lead to breathing problems, loss of sense of smell, and frequent infections. This article provides information about the symptoms and treatment options available for this condition.
Nasal polyps are soft, painless, and noncancerous growth on the lining of nasal passage and sinuses. They hang like teardrops, singly or in groups near the sinuses, that are located behind the bridge of the nose. The condition can affect anyone, but it is more common in adults. People affected by asthma or chronic sinusitis are at a higher risk of developing this condition. Studies have found that chronic inflammation of the nasal passage and the sinuses, that lasts for more than 12 weeks often triggers the formation of nasal polyps.
Small nasal polyps may not cause symptoms, but as they grow bigger, various signs and symptoms are noticed. Some of them have close resemblance with allergy symptoms. Most common symptoms include:
- Runny or stuffy nose, that lasts for several weeks. It may also be accompanied by frequent sneezing and watery discharge from nose.
- Post nasal drip may make you feel like, the thick mucus is flowing down the back of the throat.
- Partial or complete loss of sense of smell, as the air flow inside the nose is blocked.
- In some cases, it may also have an adverse impact on the sense of taste.
- Large polyps are often responsible for snoring at night.
- Some people may also notice change in voice.
- If it blocks the sinus openings, then it may lead to facial pain and headache.
- One of the most easily recognizable symptoms of nasal polyps in small children is mouth breathing, where they tend to breathe through the mouth.
- In cases, where it is left untreated for a long time, it may start exerting pressure on the nerves that transmit vision signals. This will result in blurred vision.
The first priority of the treatment is to reduce the size of the polyp with the help of medicines. Corticosteroids which are available in the form of nasal sprays are highly beneficial for this purpose. Oral corticosteroids are also prescribed in some cases to bring down the inflammation in the nasal passage. However, long-term usage of oral corticosteroids is not advised as, they may have serious side effects on the patient’s health.
On the other hand, nasal corticosteroids can be safely used without any fear of side effects. This is because when applied topically, steroids don’t reach the bloodstream in large amounts. The treatment also involves the use of antihistamines and antibiotics to treat symptoms of allergy and chronic sinus infections respectively.
When medicines do not work, then they have to be removed with the help of surgery. There are two different techniques that are used for the surgical removal of these polyps. One is polypectomy, which is suitable for small-sized polyps. It is a simple procedure wherein the polyp is extracted by inserting a small mechanical device into the nose.
The other procedure is endoscopic sinus surgery. Here a small tube with a camera and magnifying lens attached to it, is inserted to identify the location of the polyp. Then it is removed with the help of small surgical instruments. It also corrects any defect in the sinus cavities or nasal passage in order to prevent any chances of recurrence.
The symptoms of this condition is similar to those of many other conditions, including common cold. Thus, if you have the knowledge of the symptoms, you can detect the problem when the size and number of polyps is less. As a result, it can get cleared with medicines and surgery won’t be necessary.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.