Nasal polyps – a possible cause for a stuffy nose?
Have you ever felt like you have a cold that doesn’t go away? Nasal congestion that doesn’t seem to stop may be due to nasal polyps. Nasal polyps are a type of inflammatory tissue that can grow in the nasal cavity and sinuses. The mucosa is a wet layer that helps protect the inside of your nose and sinuses and humidifies the air you breathe. During an infection or allergy-induced irritation, the nasal mucosa becomes swollen and red, and it may produce fluid that drips out. With prolonged irritation, the mucosa may form a polyp.
Signs and symptoms of Nasal polyps
Polyps can grow large enough to block your nasal passages, resulting in chronic congestion. It is unusual that nasal polyps will form in the absence of other chronic illnesses. Therefore, individuals who develop polyps already have been having sinus and nasal symptoms, such as nasal obstruction, chronic facial pain or headache, excessive nasal secretion, and impaired sense of smell. They may also have minor symptoms, such as excessive post nasal drip or chronic cough.
Symptoms can include:
- a sensation that your nose is blocked
- runny nose
- postnasal drip, which is when excess mucus runs down the back of your throat
- nasal stuffiness
- nasal congestion
- reduced sense of smell
- breathing through your mouth
- a feeling of pressure in your forehead or face
- sleep apnea (pauses in breathing for a few seconds at night)
What Are the Treatments?
Not every individual who has nasal polyps requires surgical removal. Often they can be suppressed with nasal steroid therapy (spray or injection) and management of the underlying disorder (allergies, infection, etc.). For those individuals with significant symptoms or complications from their polyps, surgical removal is necessary. Usually the surgery is endoscopic and done as an outpatient procedure.
Contact our Ear-Nose-Throat department and consult with our doctors: Attila Lénárd MD and Zsuzsanna Kótai MD