Nasal polyps are soft, teardrop-shaped noncancerous growths that develop in groups on your nasal passage lining or in your sinuses. They form when the tissue is chronically inflamed, particularly in adults with asthma, airborne allergies, aspirin sensitivity or cystic fibrosis. Although small nasal polyps can go undetected and are not generally a cause for concern, larger ones can cause your nose to run or be congested on a frequent basis, making it seem like you have a cold that never goes away. Large polyps or groups of smaller ones can block the flow of air and lead to chronic sinus infections, sleep apnoea and double vision.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
List any symptoms you are experiencing, as well as your medical history and medications you're taking. Include all information, even if it seems unrelated.
Visit your doctor. You will need a solid diagnosis to proceed with treatment options. Your doctor will ask about your history with colds and the flu, allergies, asthma, surgery and when you began experiencing symptoms. Ask your doctor about the tests needed, recommendations for treatment and possible referral to a specialist. Your doctor may be able to see the polyps with a simple instrument.
Undergo diagnostic tests to confirm whether you have nasal polyps. These can include allergy tests, a computerised tomography (CT) scan--defined by the Mayo Clinic as a series of X-rays taken from many different angles to produce cross-sectional images--or a nasal endoscopy which involves inserting a tube with a microscope through your nostril into your nasal cavity.
Take prescribed medication. This could include a corticosteroid nasal spray to reduce inflammation or an oral corticosteroid. The Mayo Clinic defines a corticosteroid is a adrenal-cortex steroid used as an anti-inflammatory agent. Examples of corticosteroids include cortisone, hydrocortisone and prednisone. Additionally or alternatively, your doctor may prescribe antihistamines, antibiotics or antifungal medications.
Surgery may present the only option if medication does not shrink or eliminate the polyps. Schedule surgery if recommended by your doctor. Polypectomy is an outpatient procedure that uses a mechanical suction tool or a cutting instrument to remove the polyps. Endoscopic sinus surgery is a more involved procedure aimed at not only removing the polyps, but correcting sinus issues that make them prone to inflammation and developing polyps. This is usually an outpatient surgical procedure.
Use a neti pot to run a saltwater rinse through one nostril, into your nasal cavity and out the other nostril to promote healing after the surgery. Use a prescribed corticosteroid nasal spray to prevent the growth of more polyps.
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