Nasal polyps are benign growths inside the nose that block the sinuses and make breathing difficult. Researchers have found that they can be caused by chronic rhinosinusitis or inflammation of the nasal passages and sinuses. Since it is a common but treatable condition, consult an ear, nose, and throat specialist if you have symptoms of nasal polyps.
Signs and Symptoms
Even though nasal polyps are usually benign, they can grow unchecked and become large enough to block airways, resulting in life-threatening complications.
The symptoms of nasal polyps include congestion, snoring, sleep apnea, sneezing, loss of taste, headaches, and nausea. Other symptoms include facial pressure and breathing difficulties.
If you visit a regular doctor, these systems might be misdiagnosed as asthma, allergic rhinitis, cystic fibrosis, immune system disorder, or chronic allergies. An ENT specialist, however, can determine whether these symptoms are caused by large nasal polyps.
ENT specialists use the following methods to diagnose nasal polyps:
* Nasal endoscopy is the most common diagnostic test to look inside the nose for visible abnormalities.
* CT scans are helpful if there are changes in the sinuses or facial bones.
* MRIs can reveal any structural abnormalities or infections in soft tissues.
* If allergies are present, allergy testing can determine if they are caused by nasal polyps.
* In a polyp biopsy, cells are removed from a nasal polyp to verify it is benign.
Despite the usually benign nature of these growths in the mucous membranes, they need to be treated because they can become large enough to block the nasal passages.
They can be removed by a skilled sinus surgeon in five ways:
1. Nasal steroid sprays are used to reduce inflammation of the lining of the nose caused by allergies or other conditions. Besides treating stuffy nasal passages, they temporarily stop runny noses.
2. Cold or allergy symptoms can be relieved with antihistamines. Usually, this type of medication is taken as a pill to be swallowed, but it can also be taken as a liquid. Antihistamines work by reducing the body’s reaction to an allergen that causes allergies.
3. When polyps develop because of a bacterial sinus infection, antibiotics are often prescribed. Using an antibiotic can often cause the polyp to shrink, but there is no guarantee that this will happen.
4. Steroid pills are used to treat a variety of conditions, including nasal polyps. They can reduce inflammation and relieve pain from injuries. They should not be taken for long periods of time, as some adverse effects may occur.
5. Surgical removal of nasal polyps is an option with a high success rate. It is used if the medication does not work because a deviated septum might have caused the polyp. If a patient has large polyps and chronic sinus inflammation, surgery may be necessary.
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