Nasal polyps occur more frequently in people who have chronic inflammation of the nasal passages or sinuses. Those prone to allergies or sinusitis develop nasal polyps more often than those who are less allergic. According to the Mayo Clinic, age and genetics also play a role in the development of nasal polyps. Scientists are unsure of the direct cause of nasal polyps, but treatments are available to reduce the symptoms caused by nasal polyps.
Nasal polyps are small growths of swollen tissue that form on the lining of nasal passages. These growths are non-cancerous and are often overlooked. Nasal polyps that grow large can cause breathing problems, frequent sinus infections and a loss of the sense of smell. Nasal polyps are common in adults with asthma, recurrent sinus infections and allergies. People with cystic fibrosis are prone to nasal polyps.
In order to diagnose nasal polyps doctors examine the nasal passages. A grey tear-shaped mass may indicate the existence of a nasal polyp. There may be more than one polyp in the nasal cavities. Common symptoms of polyps include nasal or sinus congestion, runny nose, loss of taste and smell, and postnasal drip. In addition, frequent breathing through the mouth can signal the presence of a nasal polyp.
The most common surgical treatment for nasal polyps is removal; however, nasal polyps are likely to recur if underlying factors are not discovered and treated. Surgical removal of nasal polyps is an outpatient surgery with full recovery occurring in approximately two to three weeks. Surgery to remove nasal polyps is usually undertaken after non-surgical treatments have been unsuccessful. Breathing often become easier after the nasal polyp is removed.
Non-surgical treatment consists of cortisone or steroids taken via a nasal spray to reduce the swelling of the polyp. Patients may also be prescribed oral corticosteroids if the nasal spray is ineffective. Allergy medications may also help to reduce symptoms and swelling from nasal polyps. Nasal polyps tend to recur, so many of the non-surgical treatments are applied after surgery to remove the polyp has taken place.
Obstructed breathing during sleeping, sleep apnoea, may occur if the polyp is obstructing breathing. Frequent sinus infections due to blocked sinus passages may allow other infections to worsen since the immune system is continually engaged in fighting the sinus infections. Natural remedies such as saline irrigation with a neti pot may temporarily reduce swelling and relieve symptoms; however, this is not a permanent solution.
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