Nasal polyps are growths on the lining of the nasal passages that hang down like grapes. They are soft and noncancerous. While they themselves are painless, they contribute to other bothersome health problems, some of which can become serious. Nasal doctors can help patients with polyps by offering several different treatment options.
Polyps are caused by chronic inflammation of the sinuses. This chronic inflammation can be the result of several conditions including:
· Recurrent infection
· Drug Sensitivity
· Immune Disorders
Some people who have nasal polyps will have no symptoms. Those who do suffer problems usually have a cluster of polyps or a large polyp that obstruct movement in the nasal passages.
Those with bothersome polyps will suffer some, if not all, of the following symptoms:
· Constant stuffiness
· Loss of sense of smell and taste
· Headaches, usually in the forehead and face
· Frequent sinus infections
You may also experience symptoms that seem unrelated, such as itchy eyes or pain in the upper teeth. The symptoms of nasal polyps can be mistaken for other conditions such as the common cold, but nasal polyps cause symptoms that last at least more than ten days, though they may exist for months or years.
Some people who are suffering from nasal polyps may just feel like they are an unavoidable part of life and that medical attention isn’t necessary. But those who have the symptoms of nasal polyps should consider making an appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT). This is because in some cases nasal polyps can cause serious health complications, including:
· Asthma attacks
· Sleep apnea
· Sinus infections that can spread to the eye socket or sometimes even evolve into deadly meningitis
· Blood clots or even aneurysms
While these complications can be life threatening, there is no need to fear them if you’re under the care of an experienced ENT specialist.
An ENT doctor will assess your nasal passages by performing a nasal endoscopy. In this procedure, the ENT sends a narrow tube with a tiny camera, called an endoscope, into your nasal passages in order to examine the possibility of polyps. They may also want to perform CT or MRI in order to confirm the size and location of the polyps.
Your ENT will likely first prescribe a corticosteroid nasal spray. The steroid aims to reduce inflammation, shrink, and hopefully eliminate the nasal polyps. Many patients will respond well to a steroid spray and will not need any other treatment. If the polyps do not shrink, your ENT may suggest surgery. Nasal polyp surgery doesn’t require incisions, but does require sedation. It is an outpatient surgery that is usually performed in a hospital or surgery center by your ENT.
If you are experiencing symptoms like frequent headaches, stuffiness, or snoring, don’t think that you’re stuck living without the ability to breathe. Contact an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist in your area to schedule an appointment today.