Nasal polyposis occurs when the tissue in the nose swells outward. This creates mucus-filled sacs that are smooth and pear-shaped, referred to as nose polyps. Nasal polyps are usually found in both nasal cavities of the patient. There are a number of treatment options, depending on the severity of the nose polyps. The most common treatments include nasal and oral steroids and antihistamines, which can decrease symptoms and help to shrink the polyps, and a surgery called polypectomy, which is performed in severe cases and involves removing the polyps.
Symptoms of nasal polyps typically include the feeling of having a head cold that does not go away. Nasal congestion, runny nose, headache, snoring and decreased sense of smell can all be symptoms of nose polyps. For patients who have chronic sinus infections, nose polyps typically are the culprit. A physician can determine whether a patient suffers from nose polyps by examining the nasal cavity with a narrow lighted scope equipped with a magnifying lens. A computed axial tomography (CAT) scan will sometimes be given so that the physician can get a deeper look into the sinuses and see the extent of the polyps.
People who suffer from asthma or allergies are at a higher risk for developing nose polyps. After polyps are detected, nasal and oral steroids are often prescribed to help shrink the polyps. If polyps have caused an infection in the sinuses, antibiotics are prescribed. Patients who experience nose polyps that are resistant to medication can opt to have a surgical procedure known as a polypectomy.
A polypectomy is approximately a one-hour procedure, and recovery usually takes one to three weeks. After removal of the nose polyps, patients often experience congestion. Breathing typically is improved immediately following the polypectomy.
Nasal polyps can return after treatment. Patients who are prone to recurring nose polyps should consider purchasing an air purifier for the home. Limiting the amount of dust, pollen and chemicals in the air will help to decrease nasal swelling. In dry environments or winter months, patients should use a humidifier to keep the nasal passages moist.
Medications to treat asthma and allergies should be taken to prevent nasal inflammation. Alcohol and tobacco are considered irritants and can expose the nasal membranes to infection. For patients who suffer from chronic nasal polyps, alcohol and tobacco should be avoided.