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This is how you recognize polyps in the nose

Behind a stuffy nose are often due to seasonal allergies or colds. If the stuffy nose does not disappear after a few days or weeks, nasal polyps may be behind it. Polyps are not malignant tumors that can cause permanent blockage of the nose.

Dr. Jean Kim is an ear, nose and throat specialist at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University. The specialist explains what nasal polyps are, how to recognize them and how to get rid of them.

How do nasal polyps develop?

As the nasal expert reports, the exact causes for the development of nasal polyps are not yet completely known. Persistent inflammation of the nasal mucosa and sinuses (chronic rhinosinusitis) is considered a risk factor for polyp formation.

How to become chronic inflammation to polyps

According to Kim, chronic inflammation is often caused by allergies, upper respiratory tract infections, tobacco smoke and secondhand smoke. These events trigger an abnormal immune response in some individuals resulting in excessive swelling of the nasal mucosa. These swellings form the actual nasal polyps.

How dangerous are polyps?

According to John Hopkins University, there is no evidence that nasal polyps are life-threatening. However, they can cause great discomfort and severely affect normal nasal breathing. If nasal polyps become too large, they can block the normal flow of mucus and cause the nasal mucus to build up in the nose and provide a focal point for further infections.

What are symptoms of nasal polyps?

In the initial phase, nasal polyps may show no symptoms at all. With increasing size, the polyps can cause a stuffy nose, cough, headache, reduced sense of smell and taste, and a feeling of pressure in the head. Since the symptoms are similar to those of flu-like infections, there is a great risk of confusion. If cold symptoms do not disappear over an extended period of time, the ENT specialist should check the nose for polyps.

Do polyps cause pain?

"If you have true benign nasal polyps then you should not have any pain or bleeding," explains Dr. Kim. However, there are other benign or cancerous ulcers in the paranasal sinuses, which are often confused with polyps. These include, for example, an inverted papilloma or sinus cancer. Such diseases are often accompanied by pain and bleeding in the nose.

Can you see nasal polyps?

In a self-examination, the polyps are usually not visible. ENT practices use special endoscopes with cameras that can reveal polyps.

What treatment options are available for nasal polyps?

Depending on the number and size of the polyps, medications, surgery or both can be used. As drugs, nasal or oral corticosteroids are typically used to shrink the polyps. Failure to do so may require surgery to remove the nasal polyps. The surgery can usually be done as part of an endoscopy.

Risk of recurrence

If the cause of the inflammation remains untreated, sooner or later the nasal polyps will probably return, warns the specialist. Therefore, it is important to speak with a specialist about a prevention plan. This may include, for example, an increase in indoor humidity or a better management of underlying diseases such as asthma or allergies. (Vb)

Author:

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek

Sources:

  • Johns Hopkins Medicine: Could nasal polyps be the cause of your stuffy nose? (Retrieved: 12.11.2019), hopkinsmedicine.org

Important NOTE:
This article contains only general information and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.

nasal polyps (t) nasal congestion (t) asthma (t) allergy (t) chronic rhinosinusitis

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