Persons who have chronic allergies of the nose associated with frequent colds or infections are prone to developing nasal polyps.

Nasal Polyps are like grape like clusters which accumulate inside the nasal passage and gradually grow with time. 

TYPES

There are two main types of Nasal Polyps 

1. Antro Choanal Polyp - This is usually a single polyp which arises from the Maxillary Sinus and grows backwards towards the back of the nose- hence the name 'Antro' - arising from the Maxillary Antrum and 'Choanal' - going towards the posterior Choana or the back of the nose. This polyp is usually present in younger individuals and grows to a large size before it causes symptoms. It does not recur once removed.

2. Ethmoid Polyps - These are multiple polyps that arise from the Ethmoid and other sinuses. They arise in older individuals and cause complications by blocking sinus openings as well as by growing to larger size and causing nasal obstruction. They usually arise later in life - mid thirties or so and are present simultaneously in both nasal fossae. They recur even after thorough removal at surgery.

SYMPTOMS

Nasal Polyps cause the following symptoms

- Nasal blockage

- Headache

- Thick nasal discharge

- Loss of sense of smell

- Post nasal drip

DIAGNOSIS

Once you present to the ENT specialist with the above symptoms he will evaluate you including carrying out a nasal endoscopic examination. Once a diagnosis is reached the Specialist will ask for some tests one of which will be a CT Scan of the sinuses - this not only confirms the diagnosis but also tells the Endoscopic ENT Surgeon about the extent of the disease as well as the anatomic configuration of the sinuses - the CT scan acts as the road-map during the surgical procedure and is mandatory.

Nasal Endoscopy

(pic courtesy - caisinus.com)

Some blood tests may also be ordered.

TREATMENT

1. Antro Choanal Polyp -  there is only one treatment and that is surgical removal by Endoscopic Sinus Surgery. Usually there is no recurrence

2.  Ethmoid Polyps - Patients who have Ethmoid Polyps mus understand that their disease is of a chronic nature - there is no true cure - as per our current understanding of the disease. The treatment is a combination of medicines as well as surgery. Surgery is also followed by some medical therapy. The purpose of the surgery is to remove the polyps completely, open up the sinuses so that medication, specially nasal sprays can reach the deepest reaches of the Sinuses.

Alternative therapy like 'Jal Neti' - especially after a surgery - is helpful.

Patients must keep a positive attitude regarding the disease and seek a consultation as and when symptomatic.

(top pic courtesy nycfacemd.com)