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Nasal polyp: what it is, symptoms, causes, treatment and surgery

Stuffy nose

A nasal polyp is an abnormal growth of tissue in the lining of the nose that looks like small grapes or tears stuck to the inside of the nose. Although some may develop at the beginning of the nose and be visible, the majority grow in the interior canals or sinuses, which are not observable, but can lead to symptoms such as a constant runny nose, a blocked nose or a persistent headache, for example. example.

While some polyps may not cause any signs and may be identified by chance during a routine nose exam, others cause multiple symptoms and may need to be removed through surgery.

Therefore, whenever a nasal polyp is suspected, it is advisable to consult an otorhinolaryngologist to confirm the diagnosis and begin treatment to alleviate symptoms.

Main symptoms

One of the most characteristic symptoms of a nasal polyp is the appearance of chronic sinusitis that takes more than 12 weeks to disappear, however, other symptoms may include:

  • Constant runny nose;
  • Feeling of stuffy nose;
  • Decreased ability to smell and taste;
  • Frequent headache;
  • Feeling of heaviness in the face;
  • Ronco during or are.

There are also several cases in which nasal polyps are very small and, therefore, do not cause any type of change, causing no symptoms. In these cases, polyps are usually identified during routine examinations of the nose or respiratory tract.

Discover 4 other possible causes for a constant runny nose.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The otorhinolaryngologist can suggest the existence of a nasal polyp just through the symptoms reported by the person, however, the best way to confirm the diagnosis is by carrying out tests, such as nasal endoscopy or a computed tomography.

Before that, and if the person has chronic sinusitis, the doctor may first order an allergy test, as it is easier to do and helps to rule out one of the most common causes. See how the allergy test is done.

Can a nasal polyp turn into cancer?

Nasal polyps are always benign tissue growths, without cancerous cells and, therefore, cannot turn into cancer. However, this does not mean that a person cannot develop cancer of the respiratory system, especially if they are a smoker.

Possible causes

Polyps are more common in people who have respiratory problems that cause constant irritation of the nasal mucosa. Thus, some causes that increase the risk of having a polyp include:

  • Sinusitis;
  • Asma;
  • Allergic rhinitis;
  • Cystic fibrosis.

However, there are also several cases in which polyps appear without any history of changes in the respiratory system, and may even be related to a hereditary tendency.

How the treatment is carried out

Treatment for nasal polyps is generally done to try to alleviate the symptoms caused by constant sinusitis. Therefore, the doctor may recommend the use of nasal corticosteroid sprays, such as Fluticasone or Budesonide, for example, which should be applied 1 to 2 times a day to reduce irritation of the lining of the nose. Find out more about the possible ways to treat sinusitis.

However, in cases where there is no improvement in symptoms, even after a few weeks of treatment, the otolaryngologist may advise surgery to remove the polyps.

How is the surgery done

Surgery to remove nasal polyps is typically performed under general or local anesthesia, with incisions in the skin and/or mucous membrane of the mouth or using an endoscope, which is a thin flexible tube that is inserted through the opening of the nose to the site. of the polyp. Since the endoscope has a camera at the end, the doctor is able to observe the site and remove the polyp with the help of a small cutting instrument at the end of the tube.

After surgery, your doctor will usually prescribe some sprays anti-inflammatories and corticosteroids that must be applied to prevent the polyp from reappearing, making it necessary to undergo surgery again. In addition, nasal washing with saline may also be advised to stimulate healing.