HomePulmonologyWhat are Nasal Polyps, and how would they be detected?

What are Nasal Polyps, and how would they be detected?

Nasal Polyps can be detected on your nasal passage lines or sinuses; they are painless, soft, and noncancerous growths seen in these nose areas. They appear like teardrops or grapes in your rose and can form due to chronic inflammation. They are often related to asthma, allergies, recurring infection, immune disorders, or drug sensitivity.

What are nasal polyps?

Nasal polyps are linked to swelling and irritation around the nasal passage line and sinuses; it can last more than 12 weeks in chronic sinusitis. However, there are cases where nasal polyps are not associated with any sinusitis.

Various immune disorders, asthma, or allergies can create inflammation in the nose, and if not treated on time, can cause nasal polyps. If they are small in size, you may not experience any issues or may not even notice, but the larger ones can block your nasal cavity. They can create more mucus build up, and may cause infection, too.

There is no certain age for nasal polyps, but they are quite common in young and middle-aged people. Nasal polyps can be seen in areas like eyes, cheekbones, and nose.

Symptoms of Nasal Polyps

Running nose or blocked nose is a common symptom of polyps. Dust, chemicals, and fumes create more irritation to the nasal passage and lead to more infection. If there is a persistent irritation in the nasal cavity for more than 12 weeks or acute sinusitis, then nasal polyps occur. If polyps are small and soft, they will not create many problems. However, if the polyps are multiple or large-sized, they will block the nasal passage.

Other symptoms of nasal polyps are:

  • Headache – mild to severe pain in the face.
  • Persistent stuffy nose
  • Consistent congested nose.
  • Running nose
  • Losing a sense of taste and smell.
  • Snoring at night.
  • Sinus headache
  • Postnasal drip
  • Sense of pressure in the forehead and the face
  • Feeling of pressure in the face and forehead.
  • Nose bleeding – frequent at night.
  • Pain in the upper jaw – mild to severe.

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Diagnosis of nasal polyps

Nasal polyps can be diagnosed through the below-stated tests:

  • Endoscopy– In this test, the doctor analyses nose and sinuses using a narrow tube with a lightweight magnifying lens or a micro camera attached to it.
  • Allergy tests – skin tests to identify the factors that contribute to chronic inflammation.
  • Vitamin D level test– A blood sample is tested to determine the level of Vitamin D in the body.
  • Cystic fibrosis test– cystic fibrosis affects the glands that produce mucus, sweat, tears, and digestive juices.
  • Imaging studies like a CT scan can help your doctor pinpoint the size and location of polyps deep inside your sinuses. It also helps in analyzing the severity of swelling or irritation. Imaging studies also help the doctor identify any nasal cavity blockages like structural abnormalities and the possibility of cancerous or noncancerous growth.

What are the risk factors associated with Nasal Polyps?

Conditions that trigger swelling or irritation in the sinuses will increase the risk of nasal polyps.

Below are the conditions related to nasal polyps:

  • Sensitivity to Aspirin
  • Asthma
  • Cystic Fibrosis (A genetic disorder associated with abnormally sticky and thick fluids in the human body, including thick mucus from nasal and sinus linings)
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Allergic fungal sinusitis, an allergy to airborne fungi

High-Risk Factors

The complications of nasal polyps are

  • Chronic sinus infection.
  • Severe asthma
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

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What is the treatment for nasal polyps?

If it is mild, nasal polyps can be treated with medicines. If it is severe, surgery is recommended.

Medication: Polyps in the nose can be treated with medications. There are nasal sprays and pills for treating the nasal passage. But if the condition becomes worse after oral treatment, then surgery is the only way. The standard procedure is endoscopic sinus surgery, which is done as outpatient surgery.

Nasal Corticosteroids: Steroid medications like Fluticasone, budesonide, beclomethasone, mometasone are found effective for small polyps. Nasal spray reduces the irritation and swelling. Finally, the polyp shrinks.

Oral or Injectable corticosteroids: if the inflammation does not reduce with nasal sprays and becomes more severe, oral or injectable corticosteroids are prescribed.

  • Other medicines: If it is a combination of nasal polyps and sinusitis, the doctor can use an injection containing dupilumab. Other than that, antibiotics can be used for treating chronic or recurring infection, whereas, for allergies, antihistamines are aidful.
  • Surgery: If nasal polyps get severe, then surgery is the next option. Endoscopic surgery is used to remove the polyps in the nasal cavity. This is a simple procedure, and you can return the same day from the hospital. After the surgery, nasal sprays are used to prevent the recurrence of polyps.

Precautions to take if you have nasal polyps

It would be best if you took precautions not to let nasal polyps get severe. Some simple precautions are:

  • Control allergies and asthma- If you can not control your symptoms, you should consult your doctor for recommended treatment of change in treatment.
  • Maintain good hygiene- You should wash your hands properly as that works best against removing bacteria or viruses from your hands, transmitting to your nasal passages or sinuses when you touch your nose.
  • Try to avoid nasal Irritants- Keep yourself at a distance with tobacco smoke, dust, chemical fumes, and fine debris as they can cause swelling or irritation in your nose or sinuses.
  • Use a nasal rinse spray- You should utilize a saltwater spray or nasal wash frequently to clean your nasal passages. It would help you improve mucus flow and will wash away allergens and irritants.
  • Keep your home warm and humid- By using a humidifier, you can keep your house warm, which would help you keep your breathing passages moist. It may also improve mucus flow in your sinuses and would remove inflammation and blockages. Though, don’t forget to clear the humidifier to avoid the emergence of bacteria and germs in it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Are nasal polyps dangerous?

Nasal polyps are not dangerous; they can be cured with medicines if the condition is mild. If severe, surgery helps remove the polyps blocking the nose.

  1. Do nasal polyps go away?

Yes, nasal polyps go away upon treatment. If treated with medications or surgery, nasal polyps can shrink.

  1. Do nose polyps grow back?

Sometimes nasal polyps grow back in the nose upon exposure to allergens and due to prolonged infections. There is no definite reason for the reemergence of nasal polyps.

  1. How do you permanently get rid of nasal polyps?

To prevent or treat nasal polyps permanently, you must strictly practice precautions, like if you have allergic reactions to pollen grains, fungi, etc. should avoid exposure.

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Verified By Dr Battu Chaithanya

Consultant Interventional and Transplant Pulmonologist,

Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad

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