Nasal Polyps: Diagnosis And Treatments

Nasal polyps are benign growths that develop in your nasal cavity. Your risk for nasal polyps may be greater if you have allergies, take certain medications, or have immune system disorders. The signs and symptoms of nasal polyps can mimic other health conditions, and because of this, it is essential that you see an ENT surgeon, or an ear, nose, and throat surgeon. Here are some ways your ENT surgeon can diagnose and treat your nasal polyps.

Diagnosis Of Nasal Polyps

If your nasal examination reveals reddish fleshy growths that resemble small grapes, your ENT physician may suspect the presence of nasal polyps. Nasal polyps can bleed, so if your doctor notices traces of blood in your nasal passages, especially if other symptoms such as loss of taste and smell, difficulty breathing out of your nose, sinus pain or pressure, nasal congestion, and postnasal drip are present, he or she may confirm a nasal polyp diagnosis.

It is important to note that hayfever, structural defects of the nose, and seasonal allergies can also cause signs and symptoms similar to nasal polyps. Once your ENT doctor makes a definitive diagnosis, an effective treatment plan will be recommended.

Treatment Options For Nasal Polyps

Many of the treatment options used in the management of nasal polyps provide only temporary relief. These treatments include nasal corticosteroids, decongestants, saline rinses, and aspirin avoidance. Chronic aspirin use is thought to heighten your risk for nasal polyps, however, if your cardiologist has recommended daily aspirin to lower your risk for a stroke or a cardiovascular event, then do not stop taking your aspirin without getting your doctor's approval.

Once you stop taking aspirin, your polyps may regress. Your ENT surgeon may recommend surgery to remove your nasal polyps because surgical removal is typically the most effective option. While endoscopic surgery is highly effective in treating nasal polyps, they can sometimes recur, especially if you continue to take aspirin on a daily basis, if you take large doses of aspirin, or if you have uncontrolled allergies. 

If you experience any of the above symptoms of nasal polyps, make an appointment with your ear, nose, and throat physician. When nasal polyps are diagnosed before they become too large, you are less likely to experience long-term polyp-related effects such as permanent loss of smell, chronic nasal congestion, a higher risk for bacterial infections, and even sleep disturbances related to chronic snoring.