Nasal polyps are not just uncomfortable, but can cause sinus infections and even restrict your ability to breathe. Luckily, ear, nose and throat doctors offer several treatments that help relieve your symptoms.
What are nasal polyps?
Polyps are noncancerous growths that appear in the lining of your nose or sinuses. Some polyps are so small that you may never experience any symptoms from them, while others are large enough to block your airways.
Who gets nasal polyps?
Polyps often form if your nasal passages or sinuses are chronically irritated. Irritation can occur if you have chronic sinusitis, asthma, allergies or infections. People who have cystic fibrosis have an increased risk of developing polyps because the disease triggers the production of thick mucus. Some people may also develop polyps if they have an aspirin sensitivity.
What are the symptoms of polyps?
If you have polyps, you may notice a variety of symptoms, including:
- Postnasal drip or a runny nose
- A headache or pain in your face
- Pressure in your forehead and face
- A constant stuffy feeling
- Decreased sense of smell or taste
- Difficulty breathing (if polyps are large)
How do otolaryngologists treat nasal polyps?
Several medications can help eliminate polyps or reduce their size. Oral, injectable or nasal corticosteroids are used to decrease inflammation and shrink polyps, while antihistamines and antibiotics are effective in treating allergy symptoms and infections that can lead to the formation of polyps.
If medications don't help, your ear, nose and throat doctor may recommend endoscopic surgery to remove the polyps. During the procedure, he inserts a small, flexible tube that contains a camera into your nostrils. The camera sends images of your nasal passages and sinuses to a monitor. Your doctor uses small instruments to carefully remove the polyps, using the images from the camera to guide him. Surgery is very effective in treating polyps and can help make you more comfortable.
If you have more questions about nasal polyps, call Ear Nose Throat and Facial Plastic Surgery Specialists, PC in Willow Grove, PA at (215) 659-8805.