Nasal polyps – Symptoms, causes, and management

Nasal polyps are teardrops or grape-like shaped growth on the lining of your nasal passage. These growths are soft and painless, and hence, go undetected for the longest time. A benign condition, this can affect anyone but is most common in adults. While these growths are painless, they lead to blocking the nasal passage, which naturally leads to inconsistent breathing and those suffering from it also experience a decreased sense of smell. This is also a cause of frequent infections.

Some symptoms to look out for
Nasal polyps often go unnoticed but there are some common signs and symptoms that will help you recognize this condition. If you have felt some irritation or inflammation in your sinuses that has lasted for more than 12 weeks, these symptoms could mean you have nasal polyps.

  • Consistently runny or stuffy nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Decreased sense of taste
  • Absent sense of smell
  • Headache or facial pain
  • Pain in the upper teeth
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Snoring
  • Pressure on your forehead or face

These symptoms overlap with the signs of chronic sinusitis and common cold, and therefore, it is advisable to see your doctor for proper diagnosis of your condition. If the symptoms make it difficult for you to breathe, immediate medical attention is required.

What causes these unusual growths?
There is not enough research to suggest the cause of nasal polyps, however, it could be due to immune system responses. The swelling occurs in the fluid-producing lining, also called the mucous membrane, of the nose and sinuses, and the body’s ability to fight off this swelling varies from person to person. Not every person experiencing nasal irritation or inflammation develops this condition, so the cause still remains unrevealed.

However, these are certain health conditions that increase your risk of developing nasal polyps.

  • Asthma
  • Allergic fungal sinusitis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Aspirin sensitivity
  • Deficiency of vitamin D
  • Churg-Strauss syndrome

Each of these conditions triggers long-term irritation and swelling in the nasal passage.

Tips to manage nasal polyps

  • Sanitation
    Personal hygiene will reduce the risk of bacteria and viruses that may weaken your immune system.
  • Stay away from air pollutants
    Tobacco smoke, dust, chemical fumes, and other air pollutants cause irritation in the nasal passage, so it is best advised to reduce your exposure to them.
  • Manage existing health conditions
    If you have asthma or allergies, ensure that your treatment is helping you control your symptoms, or ask your doctor for a change in the treatment plan.
  • Use a humidifier
    This will ensure that the environment remains moist for a better flow of mucus from your sinuses. Make sure that you clean the humidifier on a regular basis to prevent any growth of bacteria.
  • Clean nasal passage
    There are several nasal wash kits in the market which you can use for a nasal rinse. Something like a neti pot or a squeezing bottle is easily available to administer the wash. Saline sprays can be bought over the counter to help remove any blockage in your nose.

Before you administer anything, do consult your doctor and ensure that you are practicing a safe method of treatment. If you have certain allergies, find the best way to manage those so as to reduce the risk of this condition. Also, any change in lifestyle, diet, and medication should be done under the consultation of a medical professional.

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