Sign & Symptoms
- Runny nose
- Postnasal drip
- Decreased or no sense of smell
- Loss of sense of taste
- Facial pain or headache
- Itching around your eyes
What Causes It
Nasal polyps can develop when the mucous membrane of the nasal passages and sinuses becomes chronically inflamed.
In general, a nasal condition is defined as chronic if the signs and symptoms of the inflammation last more than 12 weeks.
About The Condition
Nasal polyps are growths on the lining of the nasal passages or sinuses.
Larger nasal polyps can block your nasal passages or sinuses and cause breathing difficulties, a loss of sense of smell, frequent sinus infections and other problems.
Nasal polyps are more common in adults, particularly those with asthma, frequent sinus infections and allergies.
Children with cystic fibrosis also often develop nasal polyps.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
A diagnosis is usually made based on your symptoms, a general physical exam and an examination of the nose.
Polyps may be visible with the aid of a simple lighted instrument.
Other diagnostic tests include:
- Nasal endoscopy - A narrow tube with a magnifying lens or a tiny camera, enables your doctor to look at the inside of the nose in detail. The endoscope will be inserted into a nostril and will be guided into the nasal cavity to locate nasal polyps.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan - A type of X-ray imaging that enables your doctor to locate nasal polyps. It's also important in helping to rule out the presence of other possible obstructions in the nasal cavity, such as a cancerous growth.
- Allergy tests may be ordered if allergies are contributing to chronic inflammation. With a skin prick test, tiny drops of allergy-causing agents are pricked into the skin of your forearm or upper back. The drops are left on the skin for 15 minutes before your doctor or nurse observes your skin for signs of allergic reactions.
Drug treatments may include:
- Corticosteroids nasal spray will be prescribed to reduce inflammation. This treatment may shrink or eliminate the polyps completely. If the nasal corticosteroid isn't effective, an oral corticosteroid may be prescribed, either alone or in combination with a nasal spray. As oral corticosteroids can cause side effects, they should only be taken for a brief period. A corticosteroid injection may be recommended instead or an oral corticosteroid.
Drugs to treat conditions that contribute to chronic inflammation in your sinuses or nasal passages may be prescribed. E.g. antihistamines to treat allergies, antibiotics to treat a chronic or recurring infection, or antifungal medications to treat symptoms of fungal allergies.
If drug treatment doesn't shrink or eliminate nasal polyps, surgery may be recommended. Surgery options for nasal polyps include:
- Polypectomy can be performed to completely remove small or isolated polyps using a small mechanical suction device or a microdebrider - an instrument that cuts and extracts soft tissue.
- Endoscopic sinus surgery will remove polyps and to correct problems with the sinuses which make them prone to inflammation and the development of polyps. The surgeon inserts an endoscope, into the nostrils and guides it into the sinus cavities. A tiny instrument is used to remove polyps or other obstructions that prevent the flow of fluids from your sinuses.
Post Op Care/Care Tips
After surgery, a corticosteroid nasal spray is prescribed to help prevent the recurrence of nasal polyps. Use of saltwater (saline) rinse can help promote healing after surgery.