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How do You Treat Polyps in the Nasal Cavity?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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Polyps in the nasal cavity are usually benign fleshy growths that develop on the tissue that lines the nasal passages. While their exact cause is not yet fully understood, these growths are usually found in those with conditions that cause frequent inflammation of the nasal lining, such as sinus infections, asthma, and allergies. Polyp treatment usually begins with medications that target both the growths themselves and the underlying condition causing the ongoing inflammation. If treatment with medication proves ineffective, nasal surgery may be recommended. For many people, prevention is the most effective treatment.

Medical experts do not yet fully understand what causes polyps to develop in the nasal cavity, but it is believed that these growths are linked to conditions that cause frequent inflammation of the nasal lining, such as chronic sinusitis, asthma, and allergies. Small polyps may cause no symptoms and can easily go unnoticed. Larger polyps can obstruct the nasal passages, impairing breathing and the sense of smell, and increasing a person's susceptibility to infection.

Treatment for polyps in the nasal cavity usually begins with medication that targets the polyps, and in some cases, additional drugs to improve the underlying condition causing nasal inflammation. Corticosteroids are one of the most commonly used nasal polyp medications, and when used as directed, they can cause polyps to shrink significantly or even disappear. This type of medication may take the form of a nasal spray, a pill, or an injection.

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In addition to corticosteroids, these growths may be treated with medications that target the underlying condition causing ongoing inflammation of the nasal passages. Chronic sinusitis may be treated with antibiotics, for example, and individuals suffering from persistent allergies may be given an antihistamine to discourage nasal swelling.

If nasal polyps do not respond to medications, surgery may be required. Two types of outpatient procedures are commonly used to treat nasal polyps: polypectomy and endoscopic sinus surgery. In a polypectomy, a small device is used to pull or scrape away polyps. During endoscopic sinus surgery, a small camera is used to inspect the nasal passages and the sinus cavities. With the aid of this camera, the surgeon can remove polyps and correct any structural abnormalities that may be contributing to nasal inflammation.

For many, prevention is the most effective treatment for nasal polyps. Those who are aware that exposure to a particular substance tends to cause nasal inflammation should take care to avoid that substance. Regularly rinsing the nasal cavities with a sterile saline solution can also discourage inflammation and may be helpful in preventing the formation of polyps.

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