Nasal polyps are painless, teardrop-shaped, soft, noncancerous growths that develop on the lining of the nasal passage. The size varies and small nasal polyps do not produce any symptoms but larger polyps or groups of polyps can block the nasal passage.
Causes Of Nasal Polyps
Nasal polyps can affect anyone but they are more commonly seen in adults. Any condition that triggers inflammation repeatedly in the nasal passage (Infection, allergy) may cause the development of polyps.
The causes include:
Asthma. In asthma, there is inflammation and constriction of your airways.
Recurring Infection. Recurring viral or bacterial infection causes inflammation again and again in the nasal passage.
Allergies. Allergy to pollutants, airborne fungi, pollen allergy would also cause inflammation in the nasal passage.
Drug sensitivity. Certain drugs like aspirin can cause inflammation and irritation of nasal passages.
Diseases. Certain diseases can cause inflammation of the nasal passages. Some examples are:
Cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disease that affects the lungs and digestive system in which your body produces thick and sticky mucus that can clog the lungs and obstruct the pancreas.
Churg-Strauss syndrome, an extremely rare disease that causes inflammation of your blood vessels. It can damage small and medium-sized blood vessels and also show inflammation of nasal passages.
What Are The Symptoms of Nasal Polyps?
Nasal polyps cause blockage in the nasal passage due to recurrent inflammation. Nasal polyps are soft growths and have no symptoms of their own but it is the blockage that produces symptoms like:
Nasal blockage and congestion
Decreased sense of smell and in chronic cases, no sense of smell
Congested feeling in the head
Pain in the sinuses (air-filled sacs (4 in number) present in your facial bones)
How to Diagnose Nasal Polyps?
The presence of symptoms along with examination by the doctor can confirm the diagnosis as polyps are usually visible with lighted instruments.
Other diagnostic tests are:
Nasal Endoscopy. Viewing the nasal passage by an endoscope would help in the visualization of the polyps.
CT Scan. Computerized Tomography (CT or CAT) scans use computers and rotating X-ray machines to create cross-sectional images of the body that helps the doctor to see the size and location of the polyp.
What is The Treatment for Nasal Polyps?
The basic goal of the treatment in nasal polyps is to reduce the size of the polyps and relieve the symptoms of blockage. Conventional treatment includes corticosteroid nasal spray to relieve inflammation.
Surgery is also advised for removing the polyps mechanically.
General Management of Nasal Polyps
Avoid nasal irritants. Avoid breathing airborne irritants (fumes, pollution, chemical fumes, tobacco smoke, dust, etc) that contribute to inflammation by irritating the mucous membrane of your nose.
Use a humidifier at home to keep the nasal passage moist and improve your mucus flow.
Maintain hygiene. Wash hands regularly and maintain hygiene to avoid bacterial, viral infections that can cause inflammation of the nasal passage.
Do breathing exercises. Breathing exercises help in relieving symptoms.
Steam inhalation. Steam inhalation relieves nasal congestion and clears the nasal passage.
Nasal sprays. Saline nasal spray help in relieving nasal congestion by clearing the passage of mucus.
Keep your asthma under control. If you have asthma, then keep it under control as flare-ups would exaggerate the inflammation of your nasal passage.
Homeopathic Management of Nasal Polyps
Homeopathy is one of the ways to treat nasal polyps. Homeopathic medicines may help in decreasing the size of the polyps. Medicines should always be taken after consulting a doctor.
Complications of Nasal Polyps
Nasal polyps can cause complications because they block the nasal passage and fluid drainage. Complications include:
Sinus infections: Sinus infections can occur due to nasal polyps.
Asthma flare-up: Recurrent infection and inflammation cause the flare-up of symptoms of asthma.
Obstructive sleep apnea: Sleep apnea can occur due to nasal polyp as they block breathing.
Don’t ignore the symptoms and consult your doctor when necessary. In many people, symptoms of nasal polyps can be controlled by medications. In some, surgery would be required.
Consult your doctor/ENT specialist if your symptoms worsen or complications occur.
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