Nasal polyps are pearly gray-colored, teardrop-shaped, noncancerous growths that form on the lining of your nasal passages or sinus cavities, typically from damaged mucus membranes. Small nasal polyps may never be noticed. But larger nasal polyps can be problematic. They can block the nasal airways, creating stagnant secretions that cause sinusitis, making it very difficult to breathe and impeding your sense of smell.
Nasal polyps occur when the soft tissue lining of the sinuses becomes swollen, fills with mucus and expands into the nose. This swelling can be caused by a number of factors including allergens and any one of numerous diseases that can develop in the nasal cavities. Although anyone can get nasal polyps, they’re most common in adults who have asthma, allergies or frequent sinus infections and in children with cystic fibrosis.
Frequent symptoms of nasal polyps include:
- Nasal obstruction and difficulty breathing
- Thick, discolored nasal drainage
- Reoccurring sinus infections
- Lost or diminished sense of smell and taste
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Facial pain
- Mouth breathing
- Dull headaches
- Snoring and/or sleep apnea
If you have nasal polyps, treatment can range from medications (usually nasal or oral corticosteroids) that help shrink or eliminate smaller polyps to surgical removal of larger, more problematic polyps. The type of surgical nasal polyp treatment you receive depends on the size, number and location of your nasal polyps. Surgery can be avoided if medications are effective, and it should be noted that nasal polyps return in nearly 70 percent of patients who undergo surgical nasal polyp treatment. Whether surgery is an option or not, patients with nasal polyps should have a thorough evaluation by an allergist to help minimize the severity and frequency of recurrence.
If you think you may have nasal polyps, contact Allergy & Asthma Specialists of North Florida via our online email form, or call for an appointment at one of our four Jacksonville locations on St. John’s Bluff Road., the Westside, in Mandarin, or in Orange Park.