Nasal polyps are small, noncancerous growths that line your nasal passages or sinuses. You can have nasal polyps and not even know it, as small ones often have no symptoms. They have the appearance of hanging grapes or teardrops and can be the result of inflammation due to lung conditions. People might get nasal polyps due to asthma, immune disorders, infections, allergies and even sensitivity to certain drugs. Nasal polyps are not normally painful. Most people will never feel them.
Since nasal polyps do indeed take up space in your nasal passage or sinus cavities, they can make your nose feel stuffed up. If you do not have allergies and have not been sick yet your nose is chronically stuffed up, you may have nasal polyps. However, it should be noted that not all growths in the nose are polyps. If your nose has been stuffed for 12 weeks or more, nasal polyps might be blocking your airflow. When the polyps are small, you likely will not experience a stuffy nose, but when they grow larger your chance of symptoms increases. Sinus pressure may accompany stuffiness. Since stuffy noses are also shared with other health conditions such as the common cold, allergies or the flu, people often overlook this symptom.
Allergies can cause nasal polyps. They might be due to dust, pollen, or even certain types of food. Shellfish, dairy, nuts, and wheat are among the most common food allergies. Your doctor can administer a skin scratch test to check if you have any allergens affecting you. A skin scratch test, however, will not help your doctor diagnose food-based allergies. If you frequently get nasal polyps and suspect a food-based allergy, eliminate eating that food for ten days. If your breathing clears up, continue to avoid that food.
The internal structure of your nose can lead to nasal polyps. Mucus collects in the various nasal passages, and inflammation or infection can result. The nasal passages can be affected by an accident or a fall, or even congenital disabilities. Some people have a 'septal deviation' in their nose. The only way to diagnose a septal deviation is with an X-ray from a respiratory specialist. If your nasal passages have any deformities, surgery to correct the deformity is a permanent cure for nasal polyps, rather than repeated surgeries to remove the troublesome growths.
Nasal polyps can prevent natural drainage of the sinus cavities. When the sinus cavities cannot drain, there is a risk of infection. Infection happens in the sinus cavity when too much mucus builds up. Small polyps do not impede nasal drainage, but if you have large nasal polyps, your sinus cavities may become blocked. If you have been suffering from sinus infections, you should consult with your primary care provider.
If you have a postnasal drip on a routine basis, you may have nasal polyps. Patients with polyps tend to have a consistent post-nasal drip. To rule out this cause, you will need an evaluation by an otolaryngologist. The doctor will examine of the inside of your nose with a fiberoptic scope, combined with either an X-ray or CAT scan. If polyps are the cause of the postnasal drip, medication or surgery may be needed to correct the issue.
Constant sneezing can be a sign of nasal polyps. Many leading experts claim people who are prone to a runny nose, sneezing, and itching are more prone to nasal polyps than those who do not have these symptoms. A runny nose and sneezing are common in about half of diagnosed patients, just to put this into perspective.
Losing the sense of taste is a serious issue, and the loss has been linked to nasal polyps in some cases. Most patients who complain of a loss of taste actually suffer from a loss of smell. The sense of smell and taste are closely related to one another as much of a food's taste comes from our ability to smell the food we are eating. The difference in taste between chocolate or caramel, for example, is dependent on our ability to smell. The presence of nasal polyps can interfere with this process.
If you have a loss of smell, you may have nasal polyps. Loss of smell can result from a physical blockage of the nose. Polyps, as we know, block the nasal passages and cavities. The inflammation that sometimes accompanies polyps can also affect one's sense of smell. The polyps physically obstruct access to the smell nerves present in our nose. Surgical removal of the polyps will often restore the sense of smell in a short time.
Nasal polyps can cause more than just sinus infections. Patients can also suffer from middle ear infections. The infections occur due to problems with the eustachian tube located in the back of the nose. This, in turn, can cause difficulty sleeping and problems concentrating.
Roughly 18 percent of all patients with nasal polyps will experience some level of pain or pressure. People often feel the pain in the upper teeth. Patients may also experience facial pain or headaches. Some patients feel an uncomfortable pressure over their forehead and face. If you have unexplained facial pain lasting more than ten days, consult with your primary care doctor.
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