Are your symptoms the result of nasal polyps?
It can be frustrating to track down exactly what is causing your breathing problems. It’s common to blame the weather, your friend’s cat, or maybe the sneezing coworker from across the hall. Of all these suspects, nobody really expects this problem to be coming from growths inside our nose, also known as nasal polyps.
So, what exactly are nasal polyps?
You can think of polyps as little, drop-shaped (noncancerous) growths that hang down from the roof of the nasal passage, kind of like icicles hanging off a roof. Larger and more numerous polyps can obstruct your breathing and even interfere with your sense of smell and taste. Note that not all growths that can occur inside the nose are nasal polyps.
Polyps can occur on either side of the nose and usually form in clusters. They can vary from microscopic to being a couple centimeters long.
Causes and symptoms of nasal polyps
Nasal polyps are usually found in adults and are formed due to chronic inflammation in the nasal cavity. Asthma, infections, and allergies are all things that overtime can lead to the occurrence of polyps.
There aren’t any unique symptoms that can be automatically traced back to nasal polyps, which is why they can go undiagnosed. To diagnose polyps, a medical provider will need to use an endoscope to take a look at the inside of your nose. People who suffer from nasal polyps could be feeling any of the following symptoms:
· Stuffy or runny nose
· Facial pressure
· Tooth pain
· Constant headaches
· Post nasal drip
· Decreased sense of smell or taste
· Pressure felt on forehead and face
Luckily, most of these symptoms will have you contacting an allergist or ENT that will be able to diagnose this issue. Many of our patients that come in suffering from polyps think they have constant allergies or other sinus issues.
Outside of the annoyances of the general symptoms, nasal polyps can lead to complications like:
· Chronic sinus infections that lead to more harmful damage of the sinuses
· Sleep apnea and the plethora of problems created by it
· Structural damage to sinuses that can lead to asthma flare-ups and double vision
Treating nasal polyps
The first step to treating nasal polyps is usually medication in the form of corticosteroids. The goal of these is to shrink and eliminate larger, more irritating polyps in the nasal passage.
If medication isn’t getting the job done or the polyps are already a big problem, the most common way to solve this is through an in-office procedure known as a polypectomy. This procedure takes around 30 minutes and uses local anesthesia or intravenous sedation to numb any pain.
The physician accesses the polyps through the nose, so there will no incisions. Patients are able to go home after the procedure and are usually back to work within a few days.
How to prevent nasal polyps from forming
The major way to prevent nasal polyps is by properly managing your asthma and allergies. Polyps occur because of irritation and inflammation in the nasal cavity, and symptoms caused by these can make the issue worse.
If you’re suffering from breathing problems, it’s highly recommended that you have a medical provider diagnose the root of the problem. The longer you suffer from your symptoms, the worse your condition can get. Check out our locations page to find a clinic near you!