Nasal polyps: what they are, symptoms and treatment
Nasal polyps are abnormal tissue growth on the lining of the nose, which appear on small grapes or tears adhered to the inside of the nose. Some may develop at the beginning of the nose and be visible, most of them grow in the internal ducts or in the paranasal sinuses, which is why they are not observable, but they can cause the emergence of symptoms such as constant rhinitis, a congested nose persistent headache, for example.
While some polyps may not cause any signs or symptoms and may be identified by chance during a routine nose examination, others cause several symptoms and may need to be removed through surgery.
Therefore, whenever there is a suspicion of nasal polyps, it is advisable to consult an otolaryngologist to confirm the diagnosis and initiate treatment to alleviate the symptoms.
One of the most characteristic symptoms of a nasal polyp is the emergence of a chronic sinusitis that takes more than 12 weeks to disappear, however, other symptoms can include:
- constant rhinitis;
- Congested nose sensation;
- Decreased olfactory capacity and taste;
- Frequent headache;
- Sensation of heaviness on the face;
- Snores mientras if duerme.
There are also several cases in which nasal polyps are very small and, for this reason, do not cause any type of alteration, causing no symptoms. In these cases, polyps are usually identified during routine nose or airway examinations.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The otorhinolaryngologist may suggest the existence of a nasal polyp solely through the symptoms reported by the person; however, the best way to confirm the diagnosis is performing tests, such as nasal endoscopy or computerized tomography.
Before that, and in case the person has chronic sinusitis, the doctor can first ask for an allergy test, because it is easier to carry out and help to rule out one of the most common causes. Find out how allergy questions are made.
Can nasal polyps become cancer?
Nasal polyps are always benign tissue growths, including cancer cells; for this reason, they cannot convert to cancer. However, this does not mean that the person cannot develop a cancer in the respiratory system, especially if you are a smoker.
Polyps are more frequent in people who have respiratory problems that cause constant irritation of the nasal mucosa. Thus, some causes that increase the risk of having a polyp include:
- Allergic rhinitis;
- Cystic fibrosis.
However, there are also several cases in which the polyps arise without any type of history of alterations in the respiratory system, which could even be related to a hereditary tendency.
How is the treatment performed?
The treatment for the nasal polyp is generally carried out with the aim of relieving the symptoms caused by the constant sinusitis. Therefore, the doctor may recommend the use of nasal corticosteroids in aerosol, such as Fluticasone or Budesonide, for example, which should be applied 1 to 2 times a day to reduce irritation of the lining of the nose. Find out more about the possible ways to treat sinusitis.
However, in cases where there is no improvement in the symptoms, even after a few weeks of treatment, the otorhinolaryngologist can indicate the performance of a surgery to remove the polyps.
How is the surgery performed?
The surgery to remove nasal polyps is usually performed under general or local anesthesia, by performing incisions on the skin and/or on the mucosa of the mouth or using an endoscope, which is a thin and flexible tube that is introduced through from the opening of the nose to the area of the polyps. Since the endoscope has a camera at the point, the doctor is able to observe the region and remove the polyps with the help of a small cutting instrument located at the end of the tube.
Surgery, the doctor for the general prescribes some anti-inflammatory sprays and corticosteroids that must be applied to prevent the polyp from appearing again, therefore it is necessary to perform the surgery again. Likewise, it may even be advisable to use a nasal wash with physiological serum to stimulate healing.
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