Nasal polyps are a common occurrence, particularly in adults. Nasal polyps are noncancerous and, depending on size, may come with no symptoms at all. Treatment of nasal polyps ranges from medications to surgery.
Nasal Polyps: An Overview
What are Nasal Polyps?
According to the Mayo Clinic, nasal polyps are “…soft, painless, noncancerous growths on the lining of your nasal passages or sinuses.” The U.S. National Library of Medicine states “[t]hey often grow where the sinuses open into the nasal cavity.” Anyone can get these benign growths, though they are most frequent in adults aged 20 or older. In a paper published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, polyps in the nasal cavity affect “…up to four percent of the population.”
What are the Causes of Nasal Polyps?
In the same paper on this condition, it is stated that the cause of nasal polyps is currently unknown. Though there is much research on these growths, scientists still do not know why some people are affected while others are not. The Mayo Clinic suggests that there is “…some evidence that people who develop polyps have a different immune system response and different chemical markers in their mucous membranes than do those who don’t develop polyps.” According the U.S. National Library of Medicine, it seems that if you have problems with any of the following you may be more likely to form polyps:
- Aspirin sensitivity
- Chronic sinus infections
- Cystic fibrosis
- Hay fever
Because the cause is at this point unknown, and may vary from case to case, it is important to seek specialized medical attention for the most effective treatment.
What are the Symptoms of Nasal Polyps?
Just as the cause of nasal polyps varies from case to case, so do the symptoms. If you have small polyps, you may exhibit no symptoms at all. Large polyps are often associated with:
- Runny nose
- Congested nose
- Postnasal drip
- Decrease in sense of smell
- Loss of sense of taste
- Facial pressure – particularly over your forehead
- Frequent headaches
- Upper teeth pain
- Itching in the area surrounding your eyes
- Constant feeling that you have a cold
What are the Treatment Options?
The goal in treatment is to reduce the size of, or completely eliminate, the polyps. Even with treatment there is a chance that polyps will form in the nasal cavity once again. Treatment begins when you schedule an appointment with a medical professional. An ENT will begin with a nasal examination and may order a CT scan of your sinuses. Some polyps are treatable with medications, while others may require an endoscopic surgery. Though medications may alleviate symptoms associated with polyps, they very rarely get rid of the polyps.
Medications commonly used to treat nasal polyps include:
- Steroid nasal sprays
- Corticosteroid pills
- Allergy medications
- Antibiotics – these are used to treat a sinus infection associated with polyps, not the actual nasal polyps
If you have fairly large or troublesome polyps, your doctor may decide that an endoscopic surgery is your best option. This type of surgery involves the use of an endoscope, a thin, lighted tube with instruments attached at the end, to remove the polyps. It is possible that even with surgery the polyps will return.
Dr. John Austin – The Trusted Provider
Dr. John Austin has been providing superior service to the Austin area since 1995. Dr. Austin is board certified in Otolaryngology and was the first Austin ENT to be certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Austin has extensive experience, impressive credentials and practices in three offices throughout the Austin area. To schedule an appointment today, contact one of our three office locations.