Nasal polyps are non-cancerous growths that can form on the lining of your sinuses and nasal passages. When they are small, they can go unnoticed, but the larger they grow, the more likely they are to lead to issues like infections and breathing problems. Understanding what causes nasal polyps can ensure you seek medical treatment at the first sign of trouble.
How Nasal Polyps Form
While the exact cause is unknown, experts suspect that allergies, asthma and genetic factors can cause the mucus membrane in the nasal cavity to become inflamed. This inflammation can cause fluid to build up, leading to the formation of growths. These fluid-filled growths can develop into polyps over time.
Nasal Polyp Symptoms
The most common symptoms of nasal polyps include:
- Stuffy nose
- Postnasal drip
- Runny nose
- Loss of smell
- Sinus pressure
Severe cases of nasal polyps can lead to:
- Chronic sinus infections
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Double vision
- Increase in asthma symptoms
Diagnosing Nasal Polyps
Your doctor will discuss your symptoms, review your medical history and complete a physical exam. In order to get a closer look inside your sinus cavity, they may conduct a nasal endoscopy or order imaging.
This procedure requires a nasal endoscope, a thin lighted tube with a small camera on the end. The tube is inserted into your nose to give your doctor a detailed view of your nose and sinus cavities.
For nasal polyps deep inside your nasal cavity, a CT scan may be ordered. This imaging provides your doctor with information about the extent of any swelling or inflammation as well as providing them with information in order to rule out blockage caused by other types of growths or structural abnormalities.
Treatment for Nasal Polyps
Your treatment options depend on the size of the polyps as well as the symptoms you are experiencing.
Medical therapy such as corticosteroid nasal spray is recommended for smaller polyps. Endoscopic surgery to remove the polyps may be ordered if your condition worsens.
To learn more about nasal polyps or to schedule an appointment with an ear, nose and throat expert, contact Charleston ENT & Allergy today.