Nasal Polyps are abnormal tissue growths that occur in the sinuses and nasal passageways. They are teardrop shapes and look like grapes when they are fully grown. They can be a variety of colors, such as grey, pink, and yellow. If you have polyps, you may be unaware of them until they grow in size. They can cause a variety of problems when fully developed, so it is essential to consult a doctor if you notice any symptoms.

What are the causes of nasal polyps?

Some health care professionals believe that inflammation causes nasal polyps in the nasal passages and sinuses. Several other health conditions may cause them as well. These conditions include cystic fibrosis, seasonal allergies, environmental allergies, aspirin tolerance. These conditions have all shown to be contributing factors to being diagnosed with nasal polyps.


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What are the symptoms of nasal polyps?

A lot of the symptoms associated with nasal polyps are the same as what you would get with a common cold. As a result, people are less likely to get treatment as a cold usually goes away on its own. You may notice a stuffy nose, or blocked nasal passages, as well as difficulty breathing, runny nose, snoring, and changes in the way things smell or taste. It is essential to see a doctor if you have these cold-like symptoms for more than two weeks.


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What are the complications associated with nasal polyps?

There are some complications associated with nasal polyps that can be dangerous. The polyps can block normal airflow through the nasal passages and affect how fluid is drained from the nose. One of the most severe complications is obstructive sleep apnea, which can cause you to stop breathing while you are asleep. You will stop breathing suddenly and start breathing again a few seconds later. Polyps can also cause asthma flare-ups and sinus infections.


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What type of doctor treats polyps?

If you notice symptoms lasting for more than two weeks, consult your medical provider. He or she will refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. An ENT will be able to better diagnose and treat nasal polyps with treatments that work best for your particular condition.


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Is surgery required?

If your nasal polyps are causing severe complications, like obstructive sleep apnea, surgery may be required to remove them. Surgery is usually done by an ear, nose, and throat surgeon that specializes in conditions involving these parts of the body. Your family doctor will help you find the right surgeon for your needs if surgery is required to remove the polyps.


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When should I see a doctor?

You should see a doctor immediately if you are having trouble breathing or notice symptoms that last for more than two weeks. In most cases, a common cold will only last for a few days, so it is crucial to make an appointment if symptoms last longer. Also, if you notice severe headaches, double vision, or swelling around your eyes, contact your doctor. It is vital to call 911 If you are having problems breathing, as the polyps could be blocking your airways.


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How are nasal polyps diagnosed?

Nasal Polyps can usually be seen during an examination of the nose using a lighted instrument. Your medical provider will ask you a variety of questions about your symptom to aid in the diagnosis process. You may also be required to do a nasal endoscopy. This procedure requires a lighted narrow tube with a camera attached. The instrument will give a more detailed picture of the polyps deep inside your nasal passages. Your doctor may also require a CT scan which will help to fight the exact size and location of the polyps. If allergies are thought to be the cause of the polyps may be asked to do some allergy testing as well.


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Treatment for polyps

Your doctor will decide the best course of treatment based on the size and location of the polyps. Some possible treatments include medications such as nasal, oral or injectable medicines. These medications will help to lower inflammation and shrink the polyps. Allergy medications may also be prescribed if the cause of the polyps is allergy related. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove them. During the operation, your surgeon will remove the polyps and correct any issues that are causing inflammation. The surgery is an outpatient procedure and is usually only done if medications aren’t working to shrink the polyps and reduce inflammation.


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Are polyps preventable?

Nasal Polyps are preventable by being proactive with some of the conditions that you may have that cause them. Follow your medical provider's recommendations concerning allergy management.  Avoid things like smoking, dust, breathing in strong chemicals, and things that cause you to have allergic reactions. All of these things can aggravate your sinuses, causing inflammation. You can also use a humidifier in your home if it tends to be dry.


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What questions should I ask my doctor?

During your initial visit about possible nasal polyps, it is critical to have an open line of dialogue with your doctor to ensure that you understand everything that you need to know about nasal polyps. Be sure to tell your doctor all of your symptoms to receive the best diagnosis. Some questions that you may want to ask are: • Will I need surgery? • What is causing my breathing problems? • What is the best course of treatment for me? • Do I need to see a specialist? • What kind of restrictions will I have? • Will the polyps go away? • Will my insurance cover treatment if I need to see a specialist?


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