Nasal polyps (singular: nasal polyp) are fleshy swellings, or polypoidal masses that develop in the lining of the nose and paranasal sinuses (air-filled spaces, communicating with the nasal cavity, within the bones of the skull and face). They are non-cancerous growths.
Polyps vary in size; they may be yellowish brown or pink and are shaped like teardrops. As they grow they eventually look like grapes on a stem.
Polyps usually grow in both nostrils; they can also grow on their own or in clusters. Polyps in just one side of the nose are not common.
Large polyps and/or clusters can cause breathing difficulties. They can affect the patient's sense of smell. They may block the sinuses and cause frequent infections and other problems.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), UK, nasal polyps affect between 1 and 20 people out of every 1,000. They are about four times as common in males as females. People who develop them tend to do so after the age of 40. Individuals with asthma, frequent sinus infections and allergies are more likely to develop nasal polyps. Some children with cystic fibrosis may develop nasal polyps.
A nasal polyp is "an inflammatory or allergic polyp, arising from the ostium or cavity of one of the paranasal sinuses, which projects into the nasal cavity."
What are the signs and symptoms of nasal polyps?
A symptom is something the patient feels and reports, while a sign is something other people, such as the doctor detect. For example, pain may be a symptom while a rash may be a sign.
Individuals with nasal polyps tend to have chronic inflammation of the lining of the nasal passages and sinuses (chronic sinusitis). If there are clusters or large polyps the patient's nasal passages and sinuses may be obstructed. People with small nasal polyps may have no signs or symptoms. The following signs and symptoms are typically present:
Runny nose - this may be permanent, with the patient feeling as if he/she always has a cold.
Persistent stuffy or blocked nose - in some cases the patient may find it hard to breathe through the nose. There may be sleeping problems.
Postnasal drip - a feeling of mucus continually running down the back of the throat.
Either no sense of smell or poor sense of smell - this may not improve after polyps are treated
Poor sense of taste - this may not improve after polyps are treated.
Obstructive sleep apnea - in severe cases. This is a potentially serious condition; the patient stops breathing during sleep.
Double vision - in severe cases. More likely to occur if the patient has allergic fungal sinusitis or cystic fibrosis.
What are the risk factors for nasal polyps?
A risk factor is something which increases the likelihood of developing a condition or disease. For example, obesity significantly raises the risk of developing diabetes type 2. Therefore, obesity is a risk factor for diabetes type 2.
Any individual who has a condition that results in chronic inflammation of the nasal passages or chronic sinusitis, as well as people with allergic conditions have a significantly increased risk of developing nasal polyps, examples include:
Sensitivity to aspirin - people with an allergic response to aspirin or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are more likely to develop polyps.
Asthma - patients who suffer from asthma are more susceptible to developing nasal polyps.
Allergic fungal sinusitis - this is an allergy to airborne fungi.
Cystic fibrosis - a chronic disease that affects organs such as the liver, lungs, pancreas, and intestines. It disrupts the body's salt balance, leaving too little salt and water on the outside of cells and causing the thin layer of mucus that usually keeps the lungs free of germs to become thick and sticky. This mucus is difficult to cough out, and it clogs the lungs and airways, leading to infections and damaged lungs.
Churg-Strauss syndrome - a disease that results in the inflammation of blood vessels.
Age - nasal polyps are more common among adults aged at least 40 years.
Genetics - some research has indicated that if your parents have/had nasal polyps your risk of developing them yourself is greater, compared to other people.
What are the causes of nasal polyps?
The pathogenesis of nasal polyps is unknown - the step by step development of a disease and the chain of events leading to that disease. Experts say that nasal polyps are thought to be caused by allergy and also cystic fibrosis (less commonly). A significant number of cases are linked to non-allergic asthma. In some cases no respiratory or allergic trigger is found.
Nasal polyps have no relationship with colonic or uterine polyps.
Nasal polyps are the result of swelling (inflammation) in the nose or sinuses - they are not a disease. Experts say that inflammation causes an accumulation of fluid in the cells of the nose and sinuses. Eventually, gravity pulls these heavy cells down, resulting in polyps. Scientists believe possible triggers are bacterial or viral infection, an allergy, or an immune response to a fungus.
Nasal polyps appear most frequently near the openings to the sinuses (in the nasal passage); however, they can develop anywhere throughout the nasal passages or sinuses.
Diagnosing nasal polyps
A doctor will generally be able to make a diagnosis after receiving answers to some questions regarding symptoms, carrying out a general examination, and more specifically, examining the patient's nose. Often polyps are visible with the aid of a lighted instrument.
The doctor may also order the following tests:
Nasal endoscopy - an endoscope - a narrow tube with a small camera (or magnifying lens) is inserted into the patients nose.
CT (computerized tomography) scan - the CT scanner uses digital geometry processing to generate a 3-dimensional (3-D) image of the inside of an object. The 3-D image is made after many 2-dimensional (2-D) X-ray images are taken around a single axis of rotation - in other words, many pictures of the same area are taken from many angles and then placed together to produce a 3-D image. The device enables the doctor to locate nasal polyps as well as other abnormalities linked to chronic inflammation. The doctor will also be able to identify any other obstructions.
Skin prick allergy test - small drops of agents known to cause allergies in some people are pricked into the skin - usually the upper back or the forearm. After 15 minutes the health care professional looks for signs of an allergic reaction. In some cases the doctor may order a blood test which determines whether there are any antibodies linked to various allergens.
Cystic fibrosis - if the patient is a young child the doctor may order a cystic fibrosis test. This test measures the amount of sodium and chloride in the child's sweat.
What are the treatment options for nasal polyps?
Steroids - the doctor may prescribe a steroid spray or nose drops. This medication shrinks the polyps and reduces inflammation. This treatment is more common for patients with one or more small polyps. The patient should feel the beneficial effects within a week - with some of the newer steroid sprays this may take longer. Steroid sprays/drops may have the following side effects:
Steroid tablets - in cases of larger polyps or more severe inflammation the patient may be prescribed steroid tablets; either on their own or to be taken along with a nasal spray. Although steroid tablets are very effective at shrinking polyps, there is a risk of more serious side effects, such as weight gain, and should be taken for a few weeks at the most.
Other medications - these will include drugs that help treat conditions which may be making the inflammation worse. Examples include antihistamines for allergies, antibiotics for infections, and antifungal drugs for fungal allergies.
Surgery - surgery is only used if the polyps are very large, or if the patient has not responded well to other treatments. Approximately 75% of patients find that their polyps grow back about 4 years after they have been surgically removed.
Polypectomy - the surgeon enters through the nostrils. This procedure is the most common for the removal of polyps. The patient is given either a local or general anesthetic. Sometimes the surgeon may remove small pieces of bone from the nose to reduce the risk of recurrence.
Endoscopic sinus surgery - this procedure is used if the polyps are particularly large, in clusters, or are seriously blocking the sinuses. A long thin tube with a video camera (endoscope) is inserted into the patient's nose and sinuses. Small cuts are made on the patient's face, through which surgical instruments are inserted to remove the polyps and open the sinus cavities.
After surgery the patient will most likely be prescribed a corticosteroid nasal spray to help prevent recurrence. Some doctors recommend the use of a saline (saltwater) rinse to help post-surgical healing.
What are the possible complications of nasal polyps?
A large polyp, or a cluster of them sometimes block the flow of air and draining of fluids from the sinuses and/or nasal cavity, leading to the following possible complications:
Chronic or frequent sinus infections
Obstructive sleep apnea
The structure of the face may be altered, leading to double vision. Sometimes the eyes may be set wider apart than normal (more common in patients with cystic fibrosis).
Prevention of nasal polyps
Humidity - if the air in your home is dry use a humidifier.
Hygiene - regular and thorough handwashing reducing the risk of having a bacterial or viral infection, resulting in fewer cases of inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages.
Irritants - avoiding irritants, such as some allergens, chemicals and airborne pollutants (which cause inflammation) may help some people reduce their risk of developing polyps.
Management of asthma and allergies - patients who follow their doctor's recommendations regarding asthma and/or allergy treatment are less likely to develop nasal polyps.
Nasal lavage or nasal rinse - rinsing the nasal passages with a nasal lavage or saline spray will help improve the flow of mucus, as well as removing irritants and allergens.
Written by Christian Nordqvist
Copyright: Medical News Today
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Total 64 opinions, latest 20 shown. For all opinions, click through to the full thread.
Excersice do help controlling Polyp
posted by Arun on 13 May 2013 at 11:31 pm
Yesterday, it was confirm to me that i have polyp on my right nose. before that I was using nasal drop to breathe and Flomint spray to control the allergy...But after i started excercising and with some physical activity, I was able to control and breathe. The doc has suggested Steroids and few medicinces.
I do tried Homeopathy but it did not affected much. So, my advise try doing some running/ excercise. Trying to avoid the surgery..:-)
I've also suffer with polyps for yrs swelling in the nose. Its like as someones crushing your brains and breaking your nose.. Not a good feeling.. . Just recently I have tried this a few times. It's over the counter but Perp H has helped me. A little on a QTip is awesome.
I am only 15 and I have had three surgeries for my re-occuring nasal polyp. Two of which were removed through my nostril and one through a hole in my gums. My first surgery was when I was about nine years old. Two years later I had my second, and two years after that I had my third. I am hoping it is not growing back but I feel like it is already happening, again. Since my family has no money my parents said they will not pay for my next surgery and I have to come up with most of the money myself if I want to get it removed...all I'm asking is for you to pray for me if you can it would be much appreciated :) thank you.
my husband has polyps in the nasal area,he has taken steroids and he is feeling better .i wanted to no if homeopathic medicines will help him in controlling the coming back of polyps and he does not again have to take steroids.he has diabetes also.if yes please let me no the name and duration he has to take the medicine.thank you.
The first polyp I had, I managed to "self expel" by pushing against the non affected nostril and blowing hard. I felt something give and upon a further blow this jelly bean like thing dropped into the sink followed by a lot of blood. I took it to my GP who conirmed it as a polyp.
A year or so later it returned but would not self expel and I ended up having it removed via GA with an overnight stay in hospital. I believe the doctor said it had been "snared".
For some time I have had what I believe is a polyp in my right nostril altho' it only gave me problems when I suffered a cold. However, for the past 3+ months I have been suffering severe congestion in both nostrils and this has been confirmed as a cluster of polyps. I have been prescribed nasal drops for a week plus a spray to be used after that. I am also being referred back to the ENT dept.
I have had polyps ever since I could remember. I'm 30 now and just coming to the conclusion that it is your diet. I've noticed when I eat salty foods they get very inflamed. If you have a flair up or constantly inflamed try exercising. The polyps don't like exercise lol. You will get a brief relief or longer, promise. Try it. I am a firm believer that it is your diet. Whatever you do don't get surgery. They will only grow back, go the natural way. Stay away from salt and exercise. Best of Luck
Suggestion - stop drinking a juice that contains high fruit corn syrup
posted by Jeff on 8 Jan 2013 at 1:57 pm
Please stop drinking a juice that contains high fruit corn syrup. There is also a trick name on the ingredient: crystalline fructose which is another word for high fruit corn syrup. These are high risk of food allergy only for people who have nasal polyps.
The polyps love to absorb HFCS. It took one month for me to shrink the polyps with my two nose sprayers and SinusWar13 - not very easy. I changed my food diet to organic foods and almost no meat. It works pretty good like 85 percent better. This is far better than zero percent.
Another issue is that GMO is involved, too. GMO is really very bad. (Genetically Modified Organism or GE).
You can ask your doctor to remove the polyps in the office instead of surgery because there is no cure for it. If the polyps are so close to your eyes, then you will need the surgery. If they grow back later, then you need to remove them in the doctor office soon as possible. Then, take my advise above. Thanks.
I had an operation about 30 years back for removal of Polyps. I am doing breathing exercises like pranyama after the operation. I did not have any problem till a year back. A year back i felt breathing problem while sleeping at night. I used to get up due to blocking of nose because of polyps.I had a visit with an ENT doctor.
He prescribed me steriod spray and odimento LC tablets. Since i had already had an operation Doctor is not interested to do one more operation for me.I was told that size of polyps has been reduced. Doctor has kept me on an observation. He will decide about operation after observing me 6 or 8 months .
With spray and tablets i am feeling better.In addition to i am taking homeopathy treatment also. I am hoping not have an operation.My advice is that do pranayama exercises so that polyps will reoccur after a long gap
You might want to remind your doctor to make sure that he/she remove the whole part of the polyps because they contain roots (each polyp has one root). If he/she does not show you the polyps after the surgery, it is obvious that he/she didn't a good job. The broken root in the skin will regrow again. That's what happened.
You should learn more about Genetically Modified Food (or GMO). I strongly believe that this is what happened that started many years ago. Monstano Company is responsible for the trouble because it keeps in secret for too long.
posted by Miwa Tamelessio on 28 Nov 2012 at 12:18 pm
Hello, I have a friend who is suffering nasal polyps. The polyps grew bigger and cannot be surgically removed due to the closeness to the skull. He is seeking for alternative way to cure it. Is it possible to introduce or advice me the homeopath medicine? Thank you. Miwa
i'm just going for my first check up i think i have polyps i just can't breath thru my nose i wake up constanly with a completely dry mouth , presure on my forehead and my eyes .no sprays help at all .Anyways reading your comments i feel better i was thinking the worse .
I don't think you should worry. There's many reasons why you could've gotten a bleed related to the polyps. I had bleed before my surgery as well, not super bad, it stopped by itself after a bit, but something could've just ruptured and it's fine now.
Hi everyone....7 years before I have undergone polyps surgery due to polyps growth on both side of my side....Now again i am having the problem since again polyps are developed...Doctor suggested me to operate it again.So those who had undergone for polyps surgery please do a frequent checkup otherwise it might grow again and again..Once removed your polyps, dont let it be...Please take care
I woke up at 2 am the other night bleeding profusely out of my left nostril. Drove myself to the hospital and they finally got it stopped, they cauterized it and recommended going to my regular physician. Went and he said it looks like I have polyps. None of the above information and opinions have mentioned the nostril bleeding. It stills bleeds a little about once or twice a day. Should I be concerned with this turn of events. I have had post nasil drip for years
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