The symptoms that express the presence of certain diseases may not cause pain or discomfort, but significantly compromise the development of our days and significantly inconvenience the person presenting it. A clear example of this are the majority of diseases of the nasal cavity, in which the symptoms most referred to are those of nasal obstruction, itching, sneezing and excess mucus. One of these diseases, which is characterized by the almost constant obstruction without seeming to have any trigger, is the presence of nasal polyps. In this article we will explain everything about nasal polyps: symptoms and treatment, a condition with symptoms that are confused with those caused by other more common nasal diseases and that has a possible treatment.
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What are nasal polyps?
Nasal polyps is the name given to the overgrowth of the mucous lining of the nasal passages, creating smooth and oval masses, similar to grapes, that run off the walls of the nasal cavity and produce a condition known as nasal polyps. It is also possible that the polyps originate in the paranasal sinuses, aerial structures within the thickness of the bones that surround the nasal cavity, and there is the possibility that the polyps obstruct the orifice that communicates both air spaces, and may produce a sinusitis.
It is a relatively common condition in the population of the whole world, and it affects more frequently men and people who have exceeded 50 years of age.
What causes nasal polyps
Most nasal polyps are formed by an inflammatory disease, whose cause is not yet fully understood, but which has been linked to a wide range of possible causes, such as:
- Persistent allergic reactions and their consequent inflammation
- Alterations of air flow in narrow nasal cavities that cause mucus retention
- The formation of edema due to an alteration of blood flow
- A genetic predisposition.
In addition, certain conditions are associated with an increased risk of nasal polyps:
- Asthma and allergies
- Intolerance to aspirin
- Environmental factors.
What are the symptoms of nasal polyps?
The symptoms produced by nasal polyps are very similar to those caused by persistent rhinitis, which is why both diseases are usually confused. One of the first symptoms produced by nasal polyps is the partial loss of the sense of smell, in addition to the feeling of having something in the nose without an obstruction. With the advance of the disease, nasal obstruction begins to be noticed that can be variable in intensity during the course of the day, and it is usually the main symptom referred by those who have nasal polyps. Other symptoms produced by nasal polyps are the following:
- Increased mucus flow, which is usually thick in nature
- Itchy nose and frequent sneezing
- Headaches and discomfort in the eyes
- Nasal bleeds
- Pain, in case of an infection of the affected region.
What is the treatment for nasal polyps
To identify the presence of nasal polyps, the otorhinolaryngologist will carry out a series of studies, in addition to the review of the clinical history and the exploration of the nasal cavity, for which a nasal endoscopy can be performed. It is usually indicates a radiographic study of CT scan to detect the presence, location and size of the lesion, with these photos of the polyps and the nose can be seen if there are other anomalies such as defects of the nasal septum or bone structures.
To treat this disease, you can take a conservative approach using medications, or a more aggressive one with surgeries to remove overgrown tissues. The most effective pharmacological treatment to reduce inflammation of the mucosa and the size of the polyps are intranasal corticosteroids in spray or drops, which are able to reduce the obstruction and alleviate the symptoms of itching and excessive mucus flow.
There is also the possibility of taking oral corticosteroids, which also has positive effects for the relief of symptoms. The antihistamines are frequently using other medications, but they can only relieve symptoms of itching and mucus flow, especially when there is an allergic rhinitis associated with polyps.
The purpose of the surgery is to eliminate nasal polyps with a procedure called polypectomy, which aims to restore normal air flow. Sometimes it is necessary to complete the procedure with the removal of small segments of bone or turbinates, and even the complete removal of the middle turbinate.