Many people are unaware of nasal polyps. They are growths which can occur anywhere along the nasal passages and sinuses. These polyps will hang down from the passage in a teardrop type shape.
Nasal polyps are directly related to a person’s nasal passages and from them becoming inflamed repeatedly. This means they are linked with diseases like asthma.
Small nasal polyps are often unnoticed because they don’t cause many symptoms. Larger nasal polyps can become more of an issue. They can block the ability to breathe properly and often result in infections or even losing the sense of smell. Nasal polyps can be difficult as they tend to return after treatment. Therefore, knowing the signs and symptoms of nasal polyps can give a jumpstart on treatment.
Causes of Nasal Polyps
Currently, the full explanation as to why some people form polyps and others don’t isn’t fully understood. They can happen to anyone however. There are some factors that suggest they are involved. A current theory is that people who get nasal polyps have different immune responses than people who don’t. There are a variety of conditions which are known to lead to nasal polyps. They all involve a certain level of irritation and inflammation. Some of these conditions that lead to nasal polyps include:
- Asthma - This is arguably the most common. Asthma causes a person’s airways to inflame and become very narrow as they struggle to breathe.
- Cystic Fibrosis - This is a genetic disorder that causes fluids within the body to be sticky. In regards to nasal polyps, it causes the nasal and sinus to have to deal with thick mucus
- Vitamin D Deficiency - Quite simply, people who don’t get enough Vitamin D are more likely to get nasal polyps than other people.
- Churg-Strauss Syndrome - This is a very rare disease. Like many of the others, it causes inflammation. In this case, the inflammation is within the blood vessels in the nose and nasal area.
Symptoms of Nasal Polyps
Unsurprisingly, most of the symptoms are linked with the irritation and swelling within the nasal passages. Sinusitis is when this occurs for 3 months in a row. While an individual polyp will be small and likely not be felt, it’s multiple polyps growing in the same region that can lead to nasal blockage. Some of the signs and symptoms that people should look out for include:
- Persistent stuffy nose
- Postnasal drip
- Losing the ability to taste
- Losing the ability to smell
- Runny noses
- Headaches or other pain in the facial area
- Pain in the teeth
- Feeling pressure on the face and forehead
Treatment and Preventing Nasal Polyps
Ideally, prevention is better than treatment when it comes to nasal polyps. People with allergies or asthma need to work to control their condition and keep it from flaring up as much as possible. Keeping a humid home and using a nasal saltwater rinse in the nasal passages can help with removing irritants before they can become a problem. Simply washing hands on a regular basis can limit the amount of bacteria that can get into a nose as well. These are simple things that can help prevent polyps from forming in the first place. However, when they do, it’s possible that treatment will be required.
Treatment is aimed at reducing the size of polyps or getting rid of them completely. Medications are almost assuredly going to be the first plan of attack for a doctor. The medications prescribed will likely be designed to reduce swelling and ideally also irritation. Some may be given to reduce congestion if people are struggling with chronic congestion.
Surgery can become an option where a surgeon uses a magnifying lens in a tube to work to remove polyps. Other surgeries can instead increase the openings from sinus to nasal passage. Post surgery, drugs will likely be prescribed in an effort to keep polyps from returning.