Nasal polyps are benign growths that develop within the lining of the nasal cavities. There are many reasons why someone may develop polyps, from chronic inflammation to allergies. It is believed that anywhere from 4-40 percent of the US population has nasal polyps, with it impacting men 2-4 more often than women. This condition is also seen more often in young adults and middle-aged adults. While small nasal polyps often don’t cause issues, it’s when they get larger that an ENT specialist sees more patients coming in complaining of pain and other problems.
What are the signs and symptoms of nasal polyps?
Nasal polyps are typically to blame for chronic inflammation and swelling of the nasal cavity. People with nasal polyps may not realize that they have them, but they may be more likely to deal with other problems such as chronic sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis and other nasal issues are typically what bring people into our ENT practice in the first place. From there, we can run the appropriate diagnostic tests to see if you could be dealing with nasal polyps.
Other warning signs include:
● Runny or stuffy nose
● Postnasal drip
● Decreased sense of smell
● Loss of smell or taste
● Referred pain in the upper teeth
● Facial pressure and pain
● Recurring nosebleeds
When should I see an ENT doctor?
If you are dealing with nasal symptoms that last more than 10 days, then it’s a good idea to see your otolaryngologist to find out what’s going on. After all, these symptoms can also be caused by other respiratory conditions that may require treatment or special care, and it’s important to be able to determine what’s causing your symptoms so we know how to best treat them.
How are nasal polyps treated?
Medication is typically the first line of treatment for managing symptoms of nasal polyps. The most commonly prescribed medications include:
● Antileukotrienes to reduce inflammation
Patients may also benefit from simple drug-free treatment options such as using a Neti pot or salt water rinse to clean out the nasal passages daily. If you are still dealing with symptoms despite medication and other treatments, your ENT doctor may recommend surgery to remove the polyps. While polyps will eventually come back, it can take months or even years for this to occur.
If you are battling symptoms of chronic sinusitis, you could actually be dealing with nasal polyps. Any sinus or nasal symptoms that last for weeks on end should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist.