Nasal polyps are soft, painless, noncancerous growths on the lining of your nasal passages or sinuses. They hang down like teardrops or grapes. They result from chronic inflammation due to asthma, infection, allergies, drug sensitivity or certain immune disorders
Small nasal polyps may not cause symptoms. Larger growths or groups of nasal polyps can block your nasal passages or lead to breathing problems, a lost sense of smell, and frequent infections
Nasal polyps can affect anyone, but they’re more common in adults. Medications can often shrink or eliminate nasal polyps, but surgery is sometimes needed to remove them. Even after successful treatment, nasal polyps often return
You may help reduce your chances of developing nasal polyps or having nasal polyps recur after treatment with the following strategies:
- Manage allergies and asthma. Follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations for managing asthma and allergies. If your symptoms aren’t well-controlled, talk to your doctor about changing your treatment plan.
- Avoid nasal irritants. As much as possible, avoid breathing airborne substances that are likely to contribute to inflammation or irritation of your nose and sinuses, such as allergens, tobacco smoke, chemical fumes, and dust and fine debris.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. This is one of the best ways to protect against bacterial and viral infections that can cause inflammation of the nasal passages and sinuses.
- Humidify your home. Use a humidifier if the air in your home tends to be dry. This may help moisten your breathing passages, improve the flow of mucus from your sinuses, and help prevent blockage and inflammation.
- Use a nasal rinse or nasal lavage. Use a saltwater (saline) spray or nasal lavage to rinse your nasal passages. This may improve mucus flow and remove allergens and other irritants.
TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS
Your doctor can usually make a diagnosis based on your answers to questions about your symptoms, a general physical exam and an examination of your nose. Polyps may be visible with the aid of a simple lighted instrument. Other diagnostic tests include:
- Nasal endoscopy
- Imaging studies.
- Allergy tests.
- Test for cystic fibrosis.
TREATMENTS AND DRUGS
Nasal polyps can often be effectively treated with steroid medication. Surgery may be recommended for larger polyps, and for those that do not respond to medication.
If you have one or more small polyps, your GP may prescribe nose drops or a nasal spray that contains steroid medicine (corticosteroids). This can reduce inflammation in your nose and shrink your polyps.
A type of spray called mometasone is usually recommended because it causes fewer side effects than other steroid sprays. The recommended dose is usually two sprays into each nostril once a day.
Most people do not experience any side effects after using mometasone. However, where side effects do occur, the most commonly reported ones are:
- sore throat