WHAT ARE NASAL POLYPS?
Nasal polyps are painless, teardrop shaped, soft, non cancerous growths which develop on the lining of the nasal passage. The size varies and small nasal polyps does not produce any symptoms but larger polyps or group of polyps can block the nasal passage.
Nasal polyps can affect anyone but they are more commonly seen in adults. Any condition that triggers inflammation again and again in the nasal passage (Infection, allergy) may cause development of polyps. Risk factors include:
- ASTHMA: in asthma there is inflammation and constriction of airways.
- RECURRING INFECTIONS: recurring infection viral or bacterial cause inflammation again and again in the nasal passage.
- ALLERGIES: allergy to pollutants, airborne fungi, pollen allergy would also cause inflammation in the nasal passage.
- DRUG SENSITIVITY: certain drugs like aspirin can cause inflammation and irritation of nasal passage.
- CERTAIN DISEASES: certain diseases like cystic fibrosis, churg-Strauss syndrome also show inflammation of nasal passage.
Nasal polyps can cause complications because they block the nasal passage and fluid drainage. Complications include:
- SINUS INFECTIONS: sinus infections can occur due to nasal polyps.
- ASTHMA FLARE UPS: recurrent infection and inflammation cause flare up of symptoms of asthma.
- OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA: sleep apnea can occur due to nasal polyp as they block breathing.
SYMPTOMS & CAUSES
Nasal polyps cause blockage in the nasal passage due to recurrent inflammation. Nasal polyps are soft growths and have no symptoms of their own but it is the blockage which produce symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Nasal blockage and congestion
- Post nasal drip
- Decreased sense of smell and in chronic cases no sense of smell
- Congested feeling in head
- Pain in sinuses
The exact cause of inflammation in the mucous membrane of the nasal passage is not known as nasal polyp can develop in anyone and at any age but they are most common in adults.
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
Symptoms along with examination by the doctor can confirm the diagnosis as polyps may be visible with lighted instruments also. Other diagnostic tests are:
- NASAL ENDOSCOPY: viewing the nasal passage by an endoscope would help in visualisation of the polyps.
- CT SCAN: can help the doctor to see the size and location of the polyp.
The basic goal of the treatment in nasal polyp is to reduce the size of the polyps and relieve the symptoms of blockage. Conventional treatment include corticosteroid nasal spray to relieve inflammation. Surgery is also advised for removing the polyps mechanically.
- AVOID NASAL IRRITANTS: avoid breathing airborne irritants (fumes, pollution, chemical fumes, tobacco smoke, dust etc) which would contribute with the inflammation by irritating the mucous membrane of the nose.
- HUMIDIFIER: use a humidifier at your house as humidifier would keep the nasal passage moist and would improve mucus flow.
- MAINTAIN HYGIENE: wash hands regularly and maintain hygiene to avoid bacterial, viral infections that can cause inflammation of the nasal passage.
- DO BREATHING EXERCISES: breathing exercises would help in relieving symptoms.
- STEAM INHALATION: steam inhalation would relieve the congestion feeling in the nose and would also clear the nasal passage.
- NASAL SPRAY: saline nasal spray would help in relieving nasal congestion by clearing the passage of mucus.
- ASTHMA: if you have have asthma then keep it under control as flare ups would exaggerate the inflammation of the nasal passage.
Homeopathy is the best way to treat nasal polyps. Homeopathic medicines would help in decreasing the size of the polyps. With medicines only the size of the polyps can be managed and the patient can be relieved with all the symptoms without any surgery or steroids. Medicines should always be taken after consulting some good homeopath.
DO’S & DON’TS
- Avoid exposure to allergens.
- Do steam inhalation
- Use humidifier
- Manage asthma and keep it under control
- Do breathing exercises
- Use saline nasal spray
- Maintain hygiene and wash hands regularly
- Don’t expose yourself to allergens and infections
- Don’t ignore the symptoms