If you are having trouble breathing or have recurrent sinus infections, you may also have nasal polyps. Nasal polyps are noncancerous growths which hang down from the walls of your nasal passages or sinuses. You are at greater risk of having nasal polyps if you have:
- Asthma or allergies
- Allergic fungal sinusitis
- Recurring sinus infections
- Aspirin sensitivity
- Cystic fibrosis
If you are at greater risk of forming nasal polyps, there is a lot you can do to prevent them. Remember to:
- Get treatment to manage asthma and allergies and prevent inflammation of your nasal passages and sinuses.
- Avoid tobacco smoke, fumes, dust, and allergens to prevent nasal irritation.
- Wash your hands frequently to prevent transmission of virus and bacteria which can cause infection.
- Use a humidifier to moisten the air in your home which keeps your nasal passages moist.
- Use a saline solution to rinse your nasal passages and sinuses and to help remove irritating substances.
You may not experience any symptoms if you have small nasal polyps, however, larger nasal polyps can cause:
- Breathing difficulties
- Postnasal drip
- Constant stuffiness
- Loss of smell or taste
- Headaches or facial pain
- Chronic inflammation in your sinuses (sinusitis)
- Frequent nasal or sinus infections
- Snoring or sleep apnea
Fortunately there are effective treatments for nasal polyps. Your doctor may suggest:
- Medications to shrink the size of the polyps or eliminate them; some common medications include:
- Nasal corticosteroid spray to reduce inflammation
- Injectable or oral corticosteroids in addition to spray
- Antihistamines to reduce inflammation from allergies
- Antibiotics to treat chronic sinus infections
For larger nasal polyps that don’t respond to treatment with medications, surgery might be indicated. Surgery is performed endoscopically using an endoscope with a camera attached which is inserted into your nostril and guided up your nasal passages into your sinuses. Tiny instruments are used to remove the polyps or other growths interfering with breathing.
Call your ENT today and start breathing better tomorrow!