Nasal Polyps and Treatment

Nasal polyps are noncancerous, painless teardrop-shaped growths that form on the lining of your nasal passages or sinuses and, when mature, can resemble seedless, peeled grapes.

Nasal polyps are often associated with allergies or asthma and may cause no symptoms, particularly if they are small. Larger growths or groups of nasal polyps, however, can block normal drainage from the sinuses or lead to breathing problems, a loss of the sense of smell and frequent infections from mucus accumulated in the sinuses.

Similar to an asthmatic reaction in terms of their suddenness and multitude of triggers, polyps can swell up and appear within a day in response to a variety of environmental factors. It is a chronic condition that can recur if the underlying irritation allergy or infection is not adequately controlled.

Symptoms

Nasal polyps are associated with chronic sinusitis, a condition in which the cavities around nasal passages become inflamed and swollen for at least eight weeks, despite treatment attempts.  However, it is possible, and even likely, to have chronic sinusitis without nasal polyps. Common signs of chronic sinusitis with nasal polyps include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Postnasal drip
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Loss of smell (anosmia)
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Diminished sense of smell (hyposmia)
  • Itching around the eyes
  • Facial pain or headache
  • A sense of pressure over your forehead and face
  • Pain in your upper teeth
  • Snoring
  • Chronic infections
  • A development of asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing, sinus infections, and sensitivity to fumes, odors, dusts, and chemicals.

Risk Factors

Nasal Polyps can affect people of any age, but are most common in adults over age 40, and are twice as likely to affect men as women.

Any condition that triggers chronic inflammation in the nasal passages or sinuses may increase your risk of developing nasal polyps. These may include:

  • Asthma
  • Aspirin sensitivity
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Churg-Strauss syndrome (A rare disease that causes the inflammation of blood vessels)

 

Diagnosis

Polyps are often visible with the aid of a nasal endoscope (a narrow, flexible tube with a lighted magnifying lens or tiny camera that provides a detailed view of your nose and sinuses).

Our Approach to Nasal Polyps

Our approach to nasal polyps focuses on leveling the playing field. Imagine that the polyps in your sinus passages are dandelions growing on a field of hills and valleys. My job as a doctor is to keep the lawn on the hills and valleys mowed and dandelion free. It is much easier to successfully do that job if the field, or sinus passages, are flat rather than undulated.

We level the playing field (open the sinus passages) by developing a comprehensive management system that you, as the patient, participate in. Nasal polyps are a chronic medical problem, much like high blood pressure or diabetes, and they need to be managed the same way- on a daily basis.

Our nasal polyp management program includes a combination of judicious surgery (when necessary) and medical treatments based on our expertise in the area and our developed knowledge of your particular case.

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