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Nasal Polyps - Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Complications, Diagnosis and Treatment

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A nasal polyp is a painless condition that can occur in the nose but requires treatment. Read the article below to know more.

Written by

Dr. Lochana .k

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N

Published At April 27, 2022
Reviewed AtNovember 24, 2023

What Are Nasal Polyps?

Nasal polyps are often a soft and painless growth that can happen in the nasal passages and sinuses. They are noncancerous growth that can occur from any allergy, immune problems, sensitivity to drugs, asthma, and other related infections. The nasal polyps can differ in size and shape. If the nasal polyps are very small, symptoms are not noticeable. The larger growths might cause discomfort in the nose. Nasal polyps can occur at any age. Treatment can be given with the help of both medications and surgery.

How Does a Nasal Polyp Occur?

In general, the nasal mucosa is a moist environment. It serves as a protective covering for the sinuses and nose. It also helps in the humidification of the air that one breathes. When there is a continuous irritation or inflammation in the nostril, it can result in the swelling of the nose. This can make the nasal mucosa appear red and inflamed. The fluid starts dripping out from the nose. This affected nasal mucosa can result in the formation of nasal growth called nasal polyps. It can appear like a cyst and can block the airway.

What Are the Causes of Nasal Polyps?

Some people are known to develop nasal polyps without any problems in the nose. The common causes (and associations) of nasal polyps are:

  • Asthma.

  • Chronic or recurring sinus infections.

  • Adverse reactions for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen and Aspirin.

  • Allergic rhinitis.

What Are the Symptoms of Nasal Polyps?

Due to the nasal polyps, the areas of the nose, eyes, and cheek bones are affected. Many people do not realize they have a small nasal polyp because of the absence of nerve sensations. If the patient has sinus infections, then they might experience a headache.

The common symptoms of nasal polyps are:

  • Blocked feeling in the nose if the nasal polyp is large.

  • Runny nose.

  • Postnasal drip.

  • Nasal stuffiness.

  • Nasal congestion.

  • Reduced sense of smell.

  • Snoring.

  • Breathing through your mouth.

  • A sense of pressure in the face and forehead.

  • Sleep apnea.

What Are the Risk Factors Associated With Nasal Polyp?

The risk factors that are associated with nasal polyps are:

  • Churg-Strauss Syndrome: It is a rare inflammatory condition in which the blood vessels are affected. Patients who have a positive history of Churg-Strauss syndrome suffer a higher risk for nasal polyp.

  • Vitamin D Deficiency: If the vitamin content, especially vitamin D, is low, then the person has the highest possibility of getting affected by nasal polyps.

  • Allergic Fungal Sinusitis: It is an allergy that is caused by fungi.

  • Cystic Fibrosis: Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition in which sticky fluids are released from the sinus and the nasal passages.

What Are the Complications of Nasal Polyps?

Complications due to nasal polyps can occur due to the inflammation and blockage of the nose. The fluid drainage is also restricted in some patients.

The known complications of nasal polyp are:

  • Sinus Infections: These can make the individual susceptible to recurrent infections. A prolonged condition of sinusitis can result in asthma.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: It includes abnormal patterns of breathing when the person is awake or at sleep.

  • Invasion of Eyes or Brain: If polyps are left untreated for a long time, they can gradually erode bones and reach the eyes or brain. This can be really dangerous.

How Is a Nasal Polyp Diagnosed?

Nasal polyp requires a physical examination by the doctor. The medical history of the patient is also carefully recorded.

The various techniques that are employed for the purpose of diagnosis are:

  • Nasal Endoscopy: It is a procedure in which a narrow instrument is inserted through the nostrils that can be visualized with the help of a magnifying lens. Sometimes, a tiny camera is also attached to the instrument so that the structures can be visualized well.

  • Allergy Tests: A skin prick test is done under the supervision of a doctor to identify the agent causing the allergy. In case this test cannot be performed, then the patient is recommended to go for a blood test.

  • Sweat Test: A sweat test is performed to identify the condition of cystic fibrosis. The perspiration of the patient is collected and is tested whether it is saltier than the normal level.

  • Blood Tests: Since vitamin D deficiency is also a cause for the occurrence of nasal polyps, blood tests are done to check the level of vitamin D.

  • Imaging Techniques: The doctor will advise various imaging techniques like computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.

What Are the Treatment Options for Nasal Polyps?

Nasal polyps require great effort to get treated completely. The main aim of the treatment is to reduce inflammation and other swellings.

  • Medications: Nasal corticosteroids are recommended by the doctor to decrease the inflammatory condition. Medications like Beclomethasone, Mometasone, and Budesonide are highly beneficial drugs. If the nasal medications are not effective, then the doctor will recommend injectable corticosteroids. If the patient is suffering from both nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis condition, then the patient is advised for Dupilumab. Antihistamines are widely used for treating recurrent allergies.

  • Surgery: If the condition does not get better with medications, then the patient will be advised for surgery. The surgeon will perform an endoscopic surgery to remove the polyps. After the surgical procedure, the patient is advised for saline rinse and medications for faster healing.

What Are the Precautionary Measures to Be Followed?

By following the below tips, it is possible to prevent conditions like nasal polyps.

  • Practicing Good Hygiene: It is necessary for you to wash your hands frequently. This is the ideal way to protect yourself against viral and bacterial infections.

  • Usage of a Humidifier: You can use a humidifier to provide moisture to the nasal passage. The flow of the mucus from the sinus is improved.

  • Avoiding the Allergen: The airborne substances might cause inflammation to the nose. It is necessary to avoid them. The allergens might be avoided from the living room. These allergens might include chemical gases, dust, and tobacco smoke.

When Does the Patient Require Medical Help?

The patient requires emergency medical help in the following circumstances:

  • If the patient is having difficulty breathing for more than ten minutes.

  • Extreme pain or pressure in the facial region.

  • Recurrent sinusitis infections.

  • Any noticeable swelling is seen.

  • Abrupt elevation of the symptoms.

Conclusion:

Nasal polyps are treatable conditions with a good outcome. These can cause discomfort and interfere with normal breathing. Do not postpone your doctor's appointment if you have strained breathing and suspect some growth or blockage inside your nose. Identifying it early when they are small can help treat them with medications. Consult an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist online for further queries.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

How to Remove a Nasal Polyp?

A nasal polyp can only be removed by surgery. However, medications are given initially to avoid its increase in size.

2.

What Is the Appearance of a Nasal Polyp?

A nasal polyp appears like a grape on its stalk. Due to this, it is also known as a pedunculated polyp.

3.

What Are the Symptoms of a Nasal Polyp?

Following are the symptoms of a nasal polyp:
A runny or stuffed-up nose.
Sneezing.
Loss of taste or smell.
Mouth breathing.
Snoring.
Headaches.
Pain (in some cases).

4.

What Feeling Does a Nasal Polyp Give?

Nasal polyps are soft and are devoid of sensation, particularly the small ones. However, large or multiple nasal polyps may block the nasal passages and sinuses.

5.

What Is the Duration of a Nasal Polyp Surgery?

Depending on the size and location of the nasal polyps, the surgery takes approximately 30 minutes or more.

6.

Why Do Nasal Polyps Bleed?

Nasal polyps do not usually bleed. However, slight bleeding can occur from capillaries sometimes. If there is more bleeding, then the doctor should be consulted immediately.

7.

What Diet Can Be Taken After a Nasal Polyp Surgery?

After a nasal polyp surgery, cool and bland food should be consumed for the first 24 hours; then, for the next few days, soft and simple food is advised.

8.

What Are the Complications of an Untreated Nasal Polyp?

The complications of an untreated nasal polyp are as follows:
Nasal blockage.
Difficulty in nasal breathing.
Frequent sinus infections.
In severe cases, nasal widening can occur, and if left untreated for a long period, the continuous pressure can cause the narrowing of the space between the eyes, and the face appears enlarged.
In rare cases, polyps can grow uncontrollably and cause damage to the structures in the vicinity, like the eyes or brain.
Polyps can also cause bleeding and may even lead to anemia.
Polyps, in a few cases, can affect the olfactory sensation permanently.
Nose polyps can also cause more serious issues like:
Chronic sinus infections.
Asthma flare-ups.
Obstructive sleep apnea.
Meningitis.
Blood clots.
Aneurysms.
In some uncommon conditions, polyps can even compress nerves and may affect vision.

9.

Are Nasal Polyps Dangerous?

No, nasal polyps are not usually serious.

10.

Can Nasal Polyps Vanish on Their Own?

No, nasal polyps do not go away on their own and need to be surgically removed.

11.

How to Reduce Polyps at Home?

Nasal polyps cannot be shrunk completely at home. However, there are certain methods that can help reduce them slightly. They are as follows:
By using nasal irrigation or neti pot.
Steam inhalation.
Tea tree oil.
Chamomile solution.
Butterbur.
Peppermint oil.
Eucalyptus oil.
By including garlic, ginger, and turmeric in the food.

12.

Can Nasal Polyps Be Felt With a Finger?

Yes, nasal polyps can be felt with a finger. They are soft and have a tear drop-like shape.

13.

What Is the Fastest Way to Reduce Nasal Polyps?

Nasal drops of antibiotics and corticosteroids help in shrinking nasal polyps in 7 to 15 days, depending on their size.

14.

For How Long, Do Nasal Polyps Stays?

As the first line of treatment, drugs are given to reduce the polyps for around four to six weeks.

15.

Which Is the Best Drug Used as a Spray for Nasal Polyps?

Corticosteroids like Fluticasone Propionate and Mometasone Furoate in the form of spray are considered the best for treating nasal polyps.

16.

Which Is the Best Drug for Nasal Polyps?

For treating nasal polyps, oral corticosteroids are the best medicine.

17.

Which Conditions Predispose Nasal Polyp Surgery?

Nasal polyps need to be surgically removed if the non-surgical treatment does not show results and if the polyps severely affect the quality of life.

18.

Is Nasal Polyp Surgery Painful?

Nasal polyp surgery is done under anesthesia. However, bleeding and pain can occur for three to five days post-surgery.

19.

What Happens After Surgical Removal of Nasal Polyps?

After surgical removal of nasal polyps, symptoms are relieved. However, bleeding and pain occur for a few days after surgery, and the polyps may even regrow after some years.

20.

Is Nasal Polyp Removal Regarded a Surgery?

Nasal polyp removal is done by a technique known as sinus surgery, which is less invasive and is an outpatient procedure.

21.

What Do You Understand by Grade 3 Nasal Polyps?

Grade 3 nasal polyps mean that the polyps extend beyond the middle meatus of the nose.
Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N
Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)

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