Nasal polyps can occur in many different colors and sizes. They typically range between pink to brownish-yellow in color. Early on, the polyps look like teardrops.
But on becoming larger, they appear similar to grapes on a stem. Polyps can develop in either one or both nostrils simultaneously and may grow alone or in clusters.
Polyp clusters or large polyps can cause issues in breathing and impact the sense of smell. They can also block sinuses leading to problems such as recurrent infections. The surgeon will examine the patient’s nasal polyps and then recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
Who may get nasal polyps?
Between four and 40 percent of the population have nasal polyps. They occur almost two to four times more commonly in men than in women. Individuals with polyps usually develop them in their youth or middle-age.
Polyps tend to occur in people with recurrent sinus infections, asthma, and allergies. Children with cystic fibrosis are also more susceptible to polyp development.
An experienced surgeon can diagnose nasal polyps simply by inquiring about the patient’s symptoms and assessing their nasal condition. The surgeon will view the nasal polyps within the nose with a lighted device.
To confirm the diagnosis, the surgeon may order the below mentioned tests:
- CT Scan
- Nasal Endoscopy
- Cystic fibrosis
- Skin prick allergy test
Steroid Nose Drops or Spray
To treat nasal polyps, the surgeon may prescribe a steroid spray or nasal drops to the patient. This will help reduce the inflammation in the polyps. This is a common treatment for patients who have one or a cluster of small polyps. The side effects of the treatment include:
- Sore throat
If the patient has larger polyps or severe inflammation, they may require steroid pills. The doctor may prescribe the patient steroid pills by themselves or along with a nasal spray.
While steroids are very effective in reducing the size of the polyps, they may present side-effects such as weight gain. The patient should only take these pills for a few weeks and not a longer period.
Sometimes the surgeon may prescribe other medications to treat any underlying conditions that may be leading to aggravation in the swelling. For instance, they may prescribe antihistamines to treat allergies, antifungal drugs to treat fungal infections, and antibiotics to treat bacterial conditions.
If the polyps are substantial in size, or the patient is not responding to other treatments, the surgeon will recommend a surgical procedure for the treatment of the nasal polyps.
Polypectomy is a common treatment to excise polyps. The patient can undergo this procedure under local or general anesthesia. In this procedure, the surgeon places a long, narrow pipe connected to a camera inside the patient’s nose and sinuses.