Understanding Nasal Polyps And Your Treatment Options

If you've been struggling with chronic nasal congestion and discomfort, you may want to reach out to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist about the condition. Sometimes, these symptoms can be caused by nasal polyps. If you aren't familiar with nasal polyps, they are non-cancerous growths that develop inside your nasal cavity. In most cases, they are fairly small, but if they grow too large, they can actually interfere with your sinus function. In some cases, they can grow large enough that they actually obstruct the nasal cavity. Here's a look at what you need to know about nasal polyps and their treatments.

Understanding Nasal Polyp Symptoms

If you have nasal polyps, you may find that you have a lasting postnasal drip in addition to other symptoms. You might even struggle with tenderness and pain when you touch the sinus area of your face. Depending on the severity of the condition, you might suffer from a poor sense of taste or smell. In some cases, the condition can even cause swollen, itchy eyes and frequent sinus infections.

Exploring Your Treatment Choices

If you have reason to believe that you're experiencing the symptoms of nasal polyps, the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor will do a thorough endoscopy to see if there are any polyps to be concerned about. The endoscopy process involves inserting an endoscope fitted with a camera into your nose. This provides a clear view of the nasal cavity and allows the doctor to get a close view of any polyps to evaluate the severity of the condition. If there are polyps, your doctor may want to conduct a biopsy to ensure that the polyps are not cancerous tumors. Then, you'll have a few treatment options to consider.

Spray Corticosteroid

One of the first treatments that your doctor may recommend is the use of a spray corticosteroid. This is usually recommended to shrink the polyps. In instances where your polyps are small, the spray may even get rid of them completely. These are sometimes prescribed along with an oral treatment to help enhance the benefits of the spray.

Sometimes, these sprays are used as a long-term treatment, especially if your polyps are caused by allergies or another condition. In those cases, you'll also have to treat the condition that's causing the polyps in the first place. Otherwise, that condition is likely to cause the polyps to return.

Oral Medications

Although oral antihistamines aren't necessarily effective against the polyp growth itself, you may be prescribed some to manage your allergy symptoms. If your allergies are creating some of the polyp growth, this will help to ease your polyp symptoms as well. In addition, some doctors will prescribe an antibiotic before giving you the corticosteroid treatment in an effort to stem any infection before you start treating your body with a steroid.

Surgical Choices

When spray treatments and oral medications can't keep the polyps at bay, your doctor is likely to recommend surgery for a more long-term treatment. In those situations, you'll be exploring two primary surgical options. In many situations, endoscopic surgery is preferred, but you might need traditional sinus surgery in some cases.

  • Endoscopic Procedure: Endoscopic surgery is often used for addressing small tissue growths inside the nasal cavity. When the polyps are easy to access and small in size, your doctor will probably suggest this method. Since it's done using an endoscope, it is as easy as the diagnosis process.
  • Traditional Surgery: If your polyps are more severe, you won't be able to have endoscopic surgery to correct the problem. Traditional laser surgery is the recommended option in these cases. This is a bit more involved than endoscopic surgery, but it is often the best choice for persistent polyp growth.

Nasal polyps can cause a lot of congestion and discomfort, but you don't have to put up with them. For more information on treatment options, contact a local Ear, Nose and Throat specialist.