Have you ever come across a person complaining that they are unable to smell their favorite spices and at times, can’t taste the flavor of their food? If the answer is yes, then I have got some unpleasant news for you. This person may be suffering from nasal polyps. The good news is that they are treatable. If you experience the symptoms above coupled with others such as sleep apnea and excessive nasal drip, you should visit Dr. Alexis Furze, a specialist in otolaryngology in Newport Beach, CA.
What Are Nasal Polyps?
A nasal polyp is a benign inflammatory mass that arises from the nasal lining, or paranasal sinuses. They may be present in both nasal passages causing congestion and discharge. People with nasal polyps may experience stuffy noses, chronic sinus infections, and a loss in sense of smell and taste.
Nasal polyps are present in people of advanced age and are very rare in people below thirty years old. Some medical conditions such as asthma and allergic rhinitis, increase the risk of nasal polyps.
Surprisingly, smoking does not seem to be a significant risk factor. Genetics, however, play a role as some patients have reported having an immediate relative with nasal polyps. Evidence shows that environmental factors such as long-term exposure to dust, may cause this condition, especially among textile workers.
Diagnosis and Evaluation of Nasal Polyps
Your doctor will ask about your medical history, then carry out an evaluation. An evaluation is done using an endoscope to check for any yellowish or gray grape-like masses on your nose.
Endoscopy is carried out to make a correct diagnosis of nasal polyps. As mentioned earlier, you could experience these symptoms in both nasal passages. Therefore, your doctor may only perform a biopsy if the polyps are only observed on one side.
Additionally, the doctor may perform a CT scan to locate the polyps, as well as determine the size. Further evaluations are only done if the nasal polyps are seen as a sign of a more severe condition.
- Saline Irrigation: Saline irrigation involves rinsing your nose using neti pots and saline salt packs. This medication is available in pharmacies. All you need to do is pour the mixture into your nose as you breathe through your mouth. The nasal solution will be drained from your other nostril. You may then exhale using your nostrils to get rid of the excess saline solution.
- Topical Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are used to target inflamed nasal pathways. Topical corticosteroids have fewer side effects compared to the systemic ones hence making them more favourable. They are a first-line treatment option. The most common FDA approved intranasal steroid is mometasone furoate.
Despite there being little evidence, some studies have shown the reduction of nasal polyps size after administering corticosteroids.
Systemic therapy is only done when first-line treatment options fail to work.
Randomized trials have revealed significant improvements in polyp size, among other nasal symptoms, as a result of administering glucocorticoids. Your doctor must discuss this option before choosing this treatment due to the potential risk of bone mineral loss from long term use of these medications.
Antibiotic agents aim to reduce the microbial load from the sinuses. This treatment option should be evaluated due to the potential risk of antibiotic resistance.
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
This surgery is used in patients that have not benefited from other treatment options and may even be allergic to these medications mentioned above. Surgery removes the nasal polyps and reduces the chances of nasal polyps from recurring.
Keeping in mind all the risks associated with treatment of nasal polyps, it’s best to visit a board-certified otolaryngologist such as Dr. Alexis Furze to prevent any complications.