Ear, Nose, and Throat
There are all types of things that can grow in your nose; boogers, bacteria, and even nasal polyps. Unlike boogers, nasal polyps cannot be felt because they grow within the sinus and nasal cavity. You may be familiar with colon polyps, but polyps can grow in the nasal cavity as well. Nasal polyps are different from colon polyps in that they are rarely cancerous. They are also growths that occur from inflammation due to irritation. You may have nasal polyps and not even be aware. There are many symptoms of nasal polyps, and if you are having trouble breathing, nasal polyps could be the culprit.
Nasal polyps resemble grapes growing from a vine. They are painless growths of tissue that grow from the sinus or nasal cavity. They are usually small and do not cause any symptoms at all. They become a problem when they grow and obstruct breathing or drainage. Allergies and asthma cause polyps. Both allergies and asthma lead to swelling in the nasal cavity. As allergens enter the nasal cavity, the immune system revs up and creates an inflammatory response. Asthma is a result of inflammation in the airways which leads to extra mucus. In both conditions nasal obstruction is imminent.
Symptoms of Nasal Polyps
- Nasal obstruction
- Reduction in smelling and tasting ability
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes
These symptoms can also be related to allergies and other problems like sinus infections and colds. In many cases, you would not relate these symptoms strictly to polyps. Understanding the symptoms can, at least, make you aware. The loss of smell is a problem in nearly 75% of those who have polyps. Polyps can result in wheezing which is also a symptom of asthma. Polyps do not cause infections, but they do make you more susceptible to chronic infections.
Nasal polyps are in most cases not harmful. There are extreme instances where they can cause damage. When polyps continue to grow, they will lead to damage. Polyps can grow to the point that they begin to move the nose. The bones in the nose will start to shift, and the nasal bridge can become wider. The widening of the nasal bridge is something that may begin to become noticeable. Nasal polyps may also grow and cut off oxygen flow. Polyps by themselves are not life-threatening, but when combined with allergic reactions and sometimes asthma they have the potential to be deadly.
A nasal endoscope is a tool used to diagnose polyps. The endoscope has a magnifying lens on the tip of it that allows the physician to see into the small nasal cavity and assess the problem. The doctor may also remove part of the polyp to perform a biopsy. Although nasal polyps are rarely cancerous, a doctor may want to test them just to make sure. Medication treats polyps. They can also be treated with surgery. Surgeons will remove those polyps that are too large and also fix any damage that may have been done to the bones. Even after surgery, a biopsy may be ordered.
Taking allergy and asthma medications help prevent polyp growth. Inflammation associated with allergies is typically more controllable than asthma. Staying ahead of allergy-related problems is possible. Nasal sprays, both antihistamine, and corticosteroids help treat polyps. Decongestants are another type of medication used for treating polyps. There is no particular polyp medication. Although polyps can be treated, there is a risk of them returning. Polyps form from the nasal tissue, and there is no way for that tissue to be completely removed. Therefore, the return of polyps is likely.
Polyps can go unnoticed. They only become noticeable when they cause a restructuring of the nose. If you notice the bridge of your nose getting wider, you may have an enlarged polyp. Any abnormal changes to nose shape that is not associated with injury can also be a result of a polyp. In these instances, it is good to see a physician. Besides cosmetic changes, you may notice an increase in infections.
Nasal Polyp Prevention
We try our best to prevent infections. Most of us try to eat healthily and stay up on our hygiene. No one likes being sick. Sometimes the things that can cause illness is not made known to us. We do our best to control the things we see, but it is those things that we cannot see that may be harming us. Yearly check-ups are important for maintaining health. Any changes to the body that create pain and discomfort should also be looked at by a physician. Polyps are not a common thing that you may see a physician for, but if you know you are someone with severe allergies or asthma, it is something you should get checked. It may never cause any real problems but being able to control polyps will help decrease your asthma and allergy symptoms.
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