If you have chronic nasal congestion, you may have growths on the membrane lining of your nasal passages called polyps. These nasal polyps are soft and noncancerous, they hang down like teardrops, and they may obstruct air and fluid flow through the nose. If you have larger polyps, you may experience frequent sinus infections and even loss of smell.
Nasal polyps can affect anyone, but they are much more common in adults. They can make you miserable with a chronic stuffy, runny nose, facial pressure and pain, tooth pain, and severe headaches. Some medications can help shrink your polyps, but sometimes surgery is required to remove them. They can unfortunately return even after successful treatment.
If you’ve had these symptoms for more than three months, you may have chronic sinusitis with nasal polyps. We will do allergy testing to see if your allergies are worsening your polyps and congestion.
Symptoms of Nasal Polyps:
- Runny and stuffy nose
- Postnasal drip
- Facial, jaw, or tooth pain
- Pressure in your forehead and face
- Reduced sense of smell or taste
- Sore throat
- Watery eyes
- Snoring or sleep apnea
- Frequent nosebleeds
Causes of Nasal Polyps:
Scientists aren’t yet exactly sure what causes nasal polyps. Risk factors include asthma, seasonal allergies (hay fever), aspirin sensitivity, cystic fibrosis (a genetic, chronic lung disease) and vitamin D deficiency. Irritants such as chemical fumes, tobacco smoke, dust, pet dander and pollens can worsen your polyps and congestion symptoms. Nasal polyps also run in families.
Treatment Options for Nasal Polyps:
- Avoidance measures – following up on your allergy testing results, we can help you avoid exposure to specific allergens that trigger your symptoms and nasal polyps
- Medications – we can prescribe corticosteroid nasal sprays, and using a sterile, saltwater (saline) nasal rinse typically helps with your nasal and sinus health overall
- Allergen immunotherapy – allergy injections help desensitize your body and nasal membranes to your unique triggering allergens, to reduce inflammation and symptoms
- Advanced medications – biologic drugs such as Dupixent or Xolair injected under your skin can help control your nasal polyp inflammation and frequency of congestion and sinusitis
- Surgery – you may need surgery to remove your nasal polyps, but they may return, and you usually will need to continue medications for treatment