Nasal Polyps

Not many people are aware of nasal polyps. Nasal polyps affect a low percentage of the general population, especially those who have a family history of nasal troubles. This article provides details of these polyps as well as the ways to get rid of them.

What are nasal polyps?

Nasal polyps are fleshy growths shaped like a tear drop that grow inside the nasal passage. They are overgrowths extending from the damaged mucous membranes and are very fleshy. They can also grow from damaged paranasal sinuses. Most nasal polyps grow around the fleshy turbinate tissues namely, the inferior, the middle and the superior turbinates. If the growth is widespread then these polyps can also be found in the Choana region just before pharyngeal tonsils. They are non cancerous growths and can be found in bunches packed closely blocking the nasal canal. Children who develop nasal polyps must be checked for cystic fibrosis or the polyps may be the result of genetically inherited conditions, one of them being Immotile Ciliary Syndrome (also known as Kartagener Syndrome). They appear pearly white in color and are painless.

nasal polypsImage source

Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps are primarily of 2 major types – Antrochoanal Polyps and Ethmoidal Polyps
They are commonly classified according to 4 groups according to their occurrence. The groups are –

1. Antrochoanal Nasal Polyp – This is a single large nasal polyp that grows on one side of the nasal passage. This can also occur in a single sinus. It is big and often blocks one side of the nose completely.
2. Allergic nasal polyps – This is the commonest form of polyps formed in the nose. The cause is allergy and can be life long or as long as the patient suffers from allergy. It can lead to asthma and other breathing problems. Pathological examination of the polyp will reveal allergy as the cause. Ethmoidal polyps fall in this category as their cause is allergy.
3. Non-allergic nasal polyps – They look like allergic polyps but are not caused due to allergy. A pathological examination will return a negative result for allergy.
4. Cancerous polyp – They look similar to other polyps and are very difficult to distinguish from them. This makes this kind of polyp difficult to diagnose. They can only be identified by a pathological examination. This tumorous form of nasal polyp is called as Inverting Papilloma.

Nasal polyps block the nose causing breathing difficulty forcing the patient to breathe through the mouth. They also cause sinusitis and loss of smell (anosmia).

How to get rid of nasal polyps?

Medicines – Most of the time doctors prescribe nasal (topical) and oral steroids to quell the polyps and ease breathing. Decongestants (mostly nasal sprays) are used to ease breathing by shrinking the polyps. Antihistamines are also prescribed to suppress allergic reactions in the nose and prevent the development of nasal polyps. Such medicines can subdue the polyps and can keep them under control. Hence they have to be taken life long. There is a high chance of the polyps reforming as soon as these medicines are stopped. Antibiotics are also prescribed with steroids to prevent infection as the steroids can be immunosuppressive. Sometimes a solution of DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) may be used to reduce the inflammation. But this is not a regular medical procedure.

The other method is to treat the underlying cause of these polyps which is mostly some form of allergy. Homeopathic medicines are useful in this condition as they treat the allergies allowing the body to develop proper reaction to the allergens.

Surgery – This is the quickest way to get rid of nasal polyps. Unfortunately it’s not the most effective. Drugs like steroids, antihistamines and decongestants will need to be taken to prevent the recurrence of polyps in the nose. A simple endoscope is used to view and extract the polyps. This is normally done as an outpatient procedure. However extensive growth of polyps will require a proper examination and extraction of the polyps from around the turbinates in the inner nasal passage. Endoscopes are used for this procedure.

Until the underlying cause of the polyps is identified and treated, they may continue to be formed after surgery. To prevent the re-occurrence of the polyps, the patient is advised on proper nasal hygiene practices. This involves nasal irrigation or nasal douching to remove allergens, dirt and infection causing microorganisms from the inside of the nasal passage. Salt water is used to wash the insides of the nose.

Nasal polyps can be very troublesome as it affects breathing. It’s necessary to identify the underlying cause to get proper and long lasting cure.

This Story, What are Nasal Polyps and How To Get Rid of Them was originally published at Rxadvices on May 7, 2012 under Allergy Symptoms. Any kind of reproduction needs written consent from Rxadvices. Anybody copying this article is violating the copyrights of our website. If you find this content please notify us at We welcome your effort in preventing plagiarism and copyrights violation.

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