If you have trouble with nasal congestion that just doesn't seem to go away no matter what you do, then you may have blockage from nasal polyps. Sometimes they can be severe enough to cause problems with sleeping and snoring. Nasal polyps are fairly common and most people don't notice them. However, if they're causing problems with your breathing, then you may want to get them surgically removed. Here is some more information about nasal polyps and how to deal with them.
What are nasal polyps?
Nasal polyps are swollen pieces of tissues that develop in the sinus cavities. They can either be a single swelling or a cluster of swellings. Most of the time, these polyps are benign and cause few problems unless they grow large and interfere with air flow. Their exact cause is not clear, but they may be due to persistent medical problems which affect the sinuses.
Are there any symptoms?
Most of the time, there are no symptoms when the polyps are small. When they grow big enough to cause problems, you may feel that your sinuses are congested all the time or you have a constant runny nose or post-nasal drip. You may also notice that your sense of smell has diminished.
Who is the most at risk?
They occur more often in adult men than children or adult women. People who have a long history of chronic sinus infections, allergies, asthma or are sensitive to certain drugs are more likely to have nasal polyps. Children who possibly have cystic fibrosis may also have problems with nasal polyps.
How does the doctor know if polyps are present?
Occasionally, they can be seen through normal examination with an otoscope, especially if they're large. If you're having breathing problems, then your doctor may want to do a more thorough examination with an endoscope or even a CT scan depending on the suspected severity of your problem.
Can they be treated or removed?
The good news is that these polyps can easily be treated or removed. Corticosteroids are tried first to reduce the inflammation and possibly shrink the polyps. If this treatment is not successful, then laser therapy can quickly and cleanly remove the remaining tissue. Laser surgery may be done under local anesthesia in some cases and you should be able to go home the same day. The procedure may need repeating in a few years, however, as polyps can sometimes grow back.
If you are interested in having your nasal passages checked for polyps, check with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor. If you have polyps, your doctor will let you know if laser surgery is right for you. To learn more, contact a clinic like Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head.