Nasal polyps are generally soft pearly gray, non-cancerous growths found on the linings of the nasal passages and sinuses cavities. Nasal Polyps usually grow in response to irritated or damaged mucus and nasal membrane linings. As they continue to enlarge over time, they can cause nasal obstruction. If the polyps are large enough, they will require surgery to remove them. This surgery is usually performed in an operating room under general anesthesia. Removing the polyps reduces nasal obstruction, which may improve snoring.
Nasal Polyps Symptoms include:
- Nasal obstruction/congestion
- A runny nose (rhinitis)
- Chronic and recurrent sinus infections
- Dull headaches
- Snoring and persistent nasal stuffiness making breathing via the nasal passages difficult
- Abundant and excessive amounts of nasal drainage
- Thick, discolored nasal drainage
- A loss of smell due to nasal polyps blocking olfactory receptors
- A reduced sense of taste
- Pain, pressure and throbbing of the face
- Mouth breathing and dry mouth (xerostomia)
Nasal Polyps can cause extreme discomfort as they:
- Obstruct air from moving freely through the
- Provide an area for bacteria to grow and thrive;
- If left untreated can lead to the development of septicemia of one or more of the sinus cavities as these persistent growths promote the accumulation of bacteria containing mucus within the sinus cavities
What Causes Nasal Polyps?
The ‘paranasal sinuses’ are air-filled cavities located within the skull. These cavities open into the nose. If the soft tissue lining of the sinuses becomes swollen, they fill up with mucus between their layers causing them to expand into the nose forming a growth called a nasal polyp. Nasal Polyps can also be caused by various diseases in the nasal cavities.
The exact cause of nasal polyps is not known, however several factors are thought to cause Nasal Polyp development:
- A continuous inflammatory process within the nose and sinuses – This is thought to be a main cause of nasal polyps. Inflammation can be related to allergies; allergens in the atmosphere (pollution, dust etc.) or can be caused by a sinus infection.
- An overproduction of fluid in the sinus and nasal membranes causes swelling and engorgement of nasal polyps – This is referred to as edema. These fluid-filled bags can enlarge and pop out through the sinus openings into the nasal cavity and are referred to as nasal polyps.
- Engorged nasal membranes – Irritants such as alcohol and tobacco smoke may expose membranes to infections and result in swelling of the membrane linings.
Most people suffering with both sinusitis and nasal polyps often feel uncomfortable and suspect they have a cold or flu.