Nasal polyps are small teardrop-shaped growths on the nasal and sinus cavity lining. While small polyps do not usually cause symptoms, larger growths can block the nose and lead to breathing problems, infections and lack of smell.
Approximately 13 million people in the U.S. have nasal polyps. Though they can affect anyone, they’re more common in young or middle-aged adults and people with allergies or asthma. Let’s examine why nasal polyps are more common in individuals with allergies or asthma and how you may treat them.
Why Do Nasal Polyps Occur?
There is no known reason why some people experience nasal polyps and others don’t. For those that do get nasal polyps, they often develop from long-term inflammation or swelling of the sinuses.
What Is the Connection to Allergies and Asthma?
One study of 18,458 individuals found a demonstrated correlation between the presence of nasal polyps and asthma and allergies.
One possible cause for the association is the inflammatory effect asthma and allergies have on the nasal passage. Asthma occurs in 26% to 56% of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps patients. The inflammation in the nasal cavity from asthma can contribute to nasal polyps, and the nasal polyps can, in turn, worsen asthma symptoms. Allergic reactions to allergens can cause swelling and inflammation in the nasal passage, increasing the likelihood of nasal polyps developing.
Treatment for Nasal Polyps
Nasal polyps can be removed through endoscopic sinus surgery, a common surgery used in treating chronic sinusitis. After removal, it is important to take steps to prevent the polyps from coming back. Prevention methods may include but are not limited to:
- Nasal corticosteroid spray to reduce swelling
- Saline nasal spray to reduce swelling and add moisture
- Managing allergy and asthma symptoms
- Using a humidifier
If your nasal polyps arise most frequently when experiencing bad allergies and asthma, managing those conditions is important in preventing nasal polyps. Try avoiding allergy and asthma triggers. For instance, if you’re allergic to pollen, schedule your walks around Loma Linda Park for days with a low pollen count. Practicing trigger avoidance will help prevent swelling in the nose.
For more information on nasal polyp management, contact Arizona Desert Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists today to make an appointment with one of our ear, nose and throat experts.