Have you been experiencing breathing problems, frequent sinus infections or a lost sense of smell? Especially if you deal with allergies or asthma, you could have nasal polyps. These soft, teardrop-shaped growths in the nasal passages often grow due to chronic inflammation in the sinuses and can cause annoying symptoms.
Why Nasal Polyps Start to Grow
It’s not totally clear what causes polyp growth in the nose, but in most cases, it happens when the lining of the sinuses or nasal passages becomes inflamed for more than 12 weeks. At this point, noncancerous polyps can start to grow, particularly in sinuses close to your eyes, nose and cheekbones. Some are very tiny, but some grow much larger and can block the nasal passage. Nasal polyps are most often found in patients who have:
• Asthma, due to airway inflammation and constriction
• Chronic sinusitis
• Allergic fungal sinusitis
• Cystic fibrosis, which results in abnormally thick mucus from sinus membranes
Symptoms of Nasal Polyps
You may want to see an ENT doctor to determine if you have nasal polyps if you suffer from chronic sinusitis and have these symptoms lasting longer than 10 days:
• Decreased sense of taste and smell
• A runny or stuffy nose
• Constant postnasal drip
• Facial pain or pain in your teeth
• Headache or pressure in your forehead
The Importance of Treatment for Nasal Polyps
Besides the breathing problems that they can cause, polyps can lead to obstructive sleep apnea, asthma flare-ups and increased sinus infections.
An ENT doctor can look into your nose with a light or a nasal endoscopy to determine if you have polyp growths, or order imaging studies such as a CT to pinpoint specific locations of the polyps. After discussing results, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan to reduce or eliminate the polyps. Medications are usually the first route of treatment and may include:
• Nasal corticosteroids nasal spray to reduce inflammation and shrink the polyps
• Oral and injectable corticosteroids if nasal spray isn’t effective
• Antihistamines to treat allergies and antibiotics to treat a chronic or recurring infection
Sinus Surgery as a Treatment Option
In some cases, if medications aren’t working, endoscopic surgery may be a better method of removing polyps. Using a small tube with a magnifying lens, your doctor can use specialized tiny instruments to remove polyps and other obstructions that are blocking your sinuses. Endoscopic surgery is an outpatient procedure and is often very effective.
Sound Health ENT Doctors Are Experts in Treating Nasal Polyps
If you’ve been suffering from breathing problems that are disrupting your quality of life, make an appointment with an ENT at Sound Health Services. Our doctors will determine the cause of your symptoms and send you home feeling better than you have in a long time. Call (314) 332-1377 to schedule a consultation.