Diseases

Nasal Polyps – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Nasal polyps

Nasal polyps are pathological changes in the mucous membranes of the paranasal sinuses. With early treatment, control is usually successful.

What are nasal polyps?

Nasal polyps are benign growths or proliferations of the mucous membrane that protrude from the paranasal sinuses (especially the maxillary and ethmoid cells) into the nasal cavity. These growths are usually protrusions of the mucous membrane of the paranasal sinuses.

If nasal polyps are not treated in time, they can lead to various secondary diseases. The term ‘polyp’ comes from the Greek and means something like ‘many feet’. This descriptive name goes back to the appearance of polyps in so-called cnidarians (multicellular aquatic animals).

As a rule, nasal polyps mainly occur in adults. Children are rarely affected. According to estimates, nasal polyps occur in up to twelve percent of the German population; Men are affected by nasal polyps about twice as often as women.

causes

Nasal polyps are usually caused by inflammation or fluid retention in the mucous membrane of the paranasal sinuses. Corresponding sinus infections are also referred to as sinusitis. Nasal polyps can also develop due to further irritation of the paranasal sinus mucosa. For example, as a result of chronic colds .

Fungal infestation of the paranasal sinuses can also promote the development of nasal polyps. Furthermore, various allergies that lead to irritation of the nasal mucosa can also cause nasal polyps; It has also been scientifically described that nasal polyps occur more frequently in people who have certain painkiller intolerances.

Irritations of the mucous membranes, which can promote nasal polyps, are partly caused by pollutants in the air we breathe. Hereditary factors can also play a role in the development of nasal polyps: People who have had nasal polyps in their family are generally at a higher risk of developing nasal polyps.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Nasal polyps can exist for a long period of time without noticeable symptoms. Depending on their size, number, and location, the growths can interfere with nasal breathing. Then comes the typical nasal voice. Those affected describe the voice as nasal, dull and distorted, with large polyps having problems pronouncing certain words.

At night there is snoring and the associated sleep disturbances , and during the day headaches and increased colds occur. Performance is reduced as a result of fatigue . The polyps increase the risk of middle ear infections and inflammation of the paranasal sinuses . The ability to smell is usually greatly reduced or lost completely.

As the nasal polyps continue to increase in size, thickening of the nose can occur. In addition, the distance between the eyes sometimes increases, resulting in what is known as hypertelorism . However, if the growths are treated, such complications do not occur.

The symptoms disappear completely and those affected can breathe freely again after the end of the treatment. Nasal polyps are usually not visible externally. At best, a blocked nose and irritated airways and tear ducts indicate a serious illness that needs to be examined.

Course

The course of a disease of nasal polyps depends, among other things, on the factors underlying the nasal polyps, the stage of development of the nasal polyps and also the previous duration of the nasal polyp disease.

Basically, it can be said that an early start of treatment for nasal polyps usually also leads to a more favorable course of the disease. However, there is also a risk that polyps will form again after nasal polyps have been successfully combated. According to expert statements, there is such a residual risk, especially after surgical removal of nasal polyps.

If treatment is started early, there is usually a good prognosis that accompanying symptoms of nasal polyps, such as restricted nasal breathing or headaches, will recede. Untreated nasal polyps can lead to secondary diseases: If the nose is not sufficiently ventilated, this can lead to ear problems, among other things. If those affected also breathe more through their mouth, this can promote a sore throat.

complications

As a rule, nasal polyps have a very negative effect on the patient’s quality of life. Most of those affected suffer from a permanently blocked nose, which cannot be easily cleared. Constant snoring can also be caused by nasal polyps and possibly have a very negative effect on the relationship with your partner.

Likewise, the nasal polyps promote certain inflammations and infections, so that the patients may become ill more often. Headaches and inflammation in the ears can also occur due to the disease. Furthermore, nasal polyps can also lead to psychological problems or depression. Breathing is difficult for those affected and their resilience drops significantly. This means that sporting activities are no longer easily possible for those affected.

The development of the child may also be delayed by the nasal polyps. Treatment can be done with the help of sprays and other drugs. However, only a surgical procedure can completely remove the nasal polyps so that the person concerned can breathe freely again. However, there is no guarantee that nasal polyps will not recur. The life expectancy of the patient is not affected by this disease.

When should you go to the doctor?

Headaches, breathing difficulties, snoring or a nasal way of speaking are indications of an irregularity that should be investigated. If you have trouble sleeping, have a runny nose or feel tired, you need to see a doctor. If the symptoms persist or increase, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

If there is a slight increase in body temperature, inner restlessness or irritability, a check-up visit with a doctor should be initiated. If the pain persists or becomes more intense, a doctor should be consulted immediately. There is a risk of consequences such as attention deficits, concentration disorders and memory problems, which must be prevented.

General performance drops and everyday obligations can no longer be carried out as usual. In addition, no medication should be taken without consulting a doctor. There is a risk of various risks and side effects. A feeling of tightness in the throat, a change in breathing technique due to existing problems and the development of feelings of anxiety should be discussed with a doctor. If there is concern that choking may occur, seek medical attention as soon as possible. If a loss of appetite is determined or if the person affected shows behavioral changes and abnormalities in appearance, a doctor’s visit is advisable. In addition to the physical irregularities, psychological problems can arise that should be avoided.

Treatment & Therapy

Depending on the severity of the nasal polyps , various treatment methods are used to combat them. If nasal polyps are not yet well developed, they can be treated, for example, by administering cortisone tablets or nasal sprays . Homeopathy also provides active ingredients that are intended to contribute to the regression of nasal polyps.

However, surgical measures are often necessary: ​​Such an operation can be carried out by removing the nasal polyps through the nasal cavities. However, treatment by laser is also possible; the use of the laser procedure is intended to reduce the risk of nasal polyps forming again after a successful surgical procedure. Surgical removal of nasal polyps often takes place in hospital:

This means that the procedure is followed by a hospital stay of several days. If nasal polyps are very weak, they can be removed surgically, sometimes under local anesthesia. Preparations containing cortisone are occasionally used during the follow-up treatment of nasal polyps.

Outlook & Forecast

The chances of recovery for those affected are generally very good for nasal polyps. It hardly matters whether the treatment is surgical or medicinal. In around 90 percent of all cases that occur, the symptoms caused by the nasal polyps then improve. In the best case, the disruptive mucous membrane growths heal completely. However, the exact course of a disease caused by nasal polyps largely depends on timely treatment by a specialist doctor. As well as whether it is really possible to completely eliminate the cause of the inflammatory process.

After successful therapy, the prognosis for patients is usually good. The disturbing accompanying symptoms such as obstructed nasal breathing, recurring headaches and increased sinus infections then usually disappear completely. Depending on the underlying cause of the polyps in the nose, however, there is a relatively high probability that the problem will reoccur in those affected – this is referred to as a recurrence. Several consecutive operations are then often required to finally eliminate the growths in the nose.

In about 10 percent of all cases of nasal polyps, there can also be complications such as injuries or even inflammation. Overall, however, the recidivism rate is given as only 50 percent. However, 90 percent of all operated patients observe a significant improvement in their symptoms.

prevention

The main thing to prevent is a further spread of existing nasal polyps . It can be important to see an ear, nose and throat doctor , for example, if you have problems with breathing through your nose . But the development of nasal polyps can also be partially prevented by treating diseases such as sinus infections or a cold at an early stage; because if these diseases become chronic, the risk of developing nasal polyps is increased. Possibly, a conscious lifestyle can also avoid frequent exposure to air pollutants that irritate the mucous membranes of the paranasal sinuses.

aftercare

If the nasal polyps are surgically removed, consistent follow-up care is required to ensure the success of the therapy. It is important not to damage the nasal mucosa. A large amount of secretion often forms after nasal polyp surgery. After about seven to ten days, the secretion subsides again. During this time, it is advisable not to blow your nose, otherwise there is a risk of bleeding. Instead, the secretion is carefully dabbed off.

After the procedure, the patient should avoid anything that can lead to an increase in nasal pressure. These include physical exertion that raises blood pressure, tilting the head forward, or taking hot baths. Air travel should also be avoided. All of these blood pressure-increasing activities increase the risk of rebleeding.

It is important to drink a lot after nasal polyp surgery, even if this can sometimes cause pain. Drinking prevents congestion in the nose and thus supports the healing process. If, despite all precautionary measures, a nosebleed does occur, it is important to remain calm. Excitement increases blood pressure all the more, which in turn has a negative effect on bleeding intensity.

For nosebleeds, a sufficient amount of nasal drops or nasal spray is injected and an ice pack is placed on the back of the neck. The affected person sits up straight and should not clear their throat. Normally, the bleeding stops quickly.

You can do that yourself

In addition to medical care, people suffering from nasal polyps can take some very beneficial measures to help take care of their nose and aid in the healing process.

Daily inhalation is recommended for all patients . This process can take place in the comfort of your own home, with or without an inhaler. Inhaling should be done with brine or thyme for best results. It helps to dissolve mucus and hardening and supports the removal of pathogens. In addition, regular nasal douches using salt water help the patient . During this process, the nose is flushed. Showering the nose loosens existing incrustations on the nasal walls and supports the removal of existing pathogens in the nose.

In addition, the person affected should drink plenty of fluids every day. Warm tea or non-carbonated water is recommended. The intake of sufficient liquid leads to a moistening of the mucous membranes in the nose and throat area. This contributes to a dilution of the secretion and thus promotes the recovery process of the person concerned. The nose should also be cleaned several times a day by blowing it out thoroughly. The colloquially known pulling up of mucus in the nose should be avoided, as it can contribute to hardening of the nasal mucus.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.