What are nasal polyps?

woman sitting on couch while using nasal spray for her runny noseDo you feel like your nose is stuffy all the time, or do you wonder why you always seem to have a cold or allergies? It may be that you have nasal polyps – but what exactly are they, what causes them, and what can you do about them?

Nasal polyps

Nasal polyps are soft, swollen, sac-like growths that line the inside of the nose and the sinuses. They can grow large enough to block air flow and make it difficult to breathe. They are fairly common, not cancerous, and usually painless.

Although the exact reasons some people get polyps aren’t quite understood, they may be genetic. They are also more common in people with hay fever, cystic fibrosis, asthma, and those who have chronic sinus infections.

How do you know if you have nasal polyps?

If your nose is constantly stuffy or runny, it may be because of polyps. Your sinuses may feel full all the time, and you may even have to breathe through your mouth. You may lose your sense of smell or it may be reduced. If you have a fever or greenish discharge from your nose, it is probably not polyps.

Your doctor will use a simple light tool to determine if the problem is polyps, and to diagnose what caused the polyps, a CT scan, an MRI, or a nasal endoscopy may be needed.

How are polyps treated?

Steroid medication can help to shrink inflamed polyps, or your doctor may recommend antihistamines, allergen immunotherapy, or rinsing the sinuses with a saltwater solution, depending on what is determined to be causing the polyps. As a last resort, or if the polyps are very large, surgery may be recommended. Polypectomy, which may be combined with balloon sinuplasty, can be done in your doctor’s office using intravenous sedation.

If your nose seems to be stuffed up all the time, it may be polyps – or it may be something else. Sinus & Snoring Specialists can help determine what the problem is and then help you to find a solution. Call the office in Austin, Texas, at (512) 601-0303, for a consultation today.

Posted in: Nasal Polyps

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