What are nasal polyps?
Nasal polyps are fleshy, noncancerous growths that form on the lining of your sinuses or nasal passages and are caused by chronic inflammation, often resulting from allergies, recurrent infections, asthma, sensitivity to medications or immune system disorders. They occur most often among adults.
What symptoms are associated with nasal polyps?
Some nasal polyps may be quite small, and because they don’t contain nerves, you may not even realize you have them. Other times, they can be large and symptomatic, causing issues such as:
- runny nose
- chronic stuffy nose
- postnasal drip
- decreased sense of smell or taste
- headache or facial pain
- feelings of pressure around your eyes
- itchy eyes
How are nasal polyps treated?
Treatment for nasal polyps focuses on techniques to shrink or eliminate them, which may include the use of medications like corticosteroid nasal sprays, oral medications or injectable steroids. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove polyps that are large and symptomatic. The surgery is performed endoscopically, using a special instrument featuring a flexible tube designed to gently reach inside your sinuses and nasal passages. The instrument uses a magnifying lens or camera to see the polyps more clearly so they can be easily removed.
Once my polyps are removed, can they come back?
Sometimes polyps will come back, but there are some steps you can take to prevent them from recurring, including:
- avoiding breathing in irritants like smoke and other pollutants which may cause irritation and inflammation
- washing your hands thoroughly to prevent infections that can lead to inflammation
- managing your allergies of asthma to avoid inflammation
- using a saline spray to rinse nasal passages and reduce irritants
- using a humidifier if your home is dry