Nasal polyps are soft, painless, noncancerous growths on the lining of your nasal passages or sinuses. They hang down like teardrops or grapes. They result from chronic inflammation due to asthma, recurring infection, allergies, drug sensitivity or certain immune disorders.
Small nasal polyps may not cause symptoms. Larger growths or groups of nasal polyps can block your nasal passages or lead to breathing problems, a lost sense of smell and frequent infections.
Nasal polyps can affect anyone, but they’re more common in adults. Medications can often shrink or eliminate nasal polyps.
Nasal polyps are associated with inflammation of the lining of your nasal passages and sinuses that lasts more than 12 weeks (chronic rhinosinusitis, also known as chronic sinusitis). However, it’s possible — and even somewhat more likely — to have chronic sinusitis without nasal polyps.
Nasal polyps themselves are soft and lack sensation, so if they’re small you may not be aware you have them. Multiple growths or a large polyp may block your nasal passages and sinuses.
Common signs and symptoms of chronic sinusitis with nasal polyps include:
- A runny nose
- Persistent stuffiness
- Postnasal drip
- Decreased or absent sense of smell
- Loss of sense of taste
- Facial pain or headache
- Pain in your upper teeth
- A sense of pressure over your forehead and face
Scientists don’t yet fully understand what causes nasal polyps. It’s not clear why some people develop chronic inflammation or why ongoing inflammation triggers polyp formation in some people and not in others. The inflammation occurs in the fluid-producing lining (mucous membrane) of your nose and sinuses. There’s some evidence that people who develop polyps have a different immune system response and different chemical markers in their mucous membranes than do those who don’t develop polyps.
Nasal polyps can form at any age, but they’re most common in young and middle-aged adults. Nasal polyps may form anywhere in your sinuses or nasal passages, but they appear most often in an area where sinuses near your eyes, nose and cheekbones all drain through winding passages into your nose (ostiomeatal complex).
Any condition that triggers chronic inflammation in your nasal passages or sinuses, such as infections or allergies, may increase your risk of developing nasal polyps. Conditions often associated with nasal polyps include:
- Asthma,a disease that causes overall airway inflammation and constriction
- Aspirin sensitivitymay cause some people to be more likely to develop nasal polyps
- Allergic fungal sinusitis,an allergy to airborne fungi
- Cystic fibrosis,a genetic disorder that results in the production and secretion of abnormally thick, sticky fluids, including thick mucus from nasal and sinus membranes
- Churg-Strauss syndrome,a rare disease that causes the inflammation of blood vessels
Your family history also may play a role. There’s some evidence that certain genetic variations associated with immune system function make you more likely to develop nasal polyps.
Nasal polyps can cause complications because they block normal airflow and fluid drainage, and also because of the chronic inflammation underlying their development. Potential complications include:
- Obstructive sleep apnea.In this potentially serious condition, you stop and start breathing frequently during sleep.
- Asthma flare-ups.Chronic rhinosinusitis can aggravate asthma.
- Sinus infections.Nasal polyps can make you more susceptible to sinus infections that recur often or become chronic.
You may help reduce your chances of developing nasal polyps or having nasal polyps recur after treatment with the following strategies:
- Manage allergies and asthma.Follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations for managing asthma and allergies. If your symptoms aren’t well-controlled, talk to your doctor about changing your treatment plan.
- Avoid nasal irritants.As much as possible, avoid breathing airborne substances that are likely to contribute to inflammation or irritation of your nose and sinuses, such as allergens, tobacco smoke, chemical fumes, and dust and fine debris.
- Practice good hygiene.Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. This is one of the best ways to protect against bacterial and viral infections that can cause inflammation of the nasal passages and sinuses.
- Humidify your home.Use a humidifier if the air in your home tends to be dry. This may help moisten your breathing passages, improve the flow of mucus from your sinuses, and help prevent blockage and inflammation.
- Use a nasal rinse or nasal lavage.Use a saltwater (saline) spray or nasal lavage to rinse your nasal passages. This may improve mucus flow and remove allergens and other irritants.
Your doctor can usually make a diagnosis based on your answers to questions about your symptoms, a general physical exam and an examination of your nose. Polyps may be visible with the aid of a simple lighted instrument.
Other diagnostic tests include:
- Nasal endoscopy.A narrow tube with a lighted magnifying lens or tiny camera (nasal endoscope) enables your doctor to perform a detailed examination inside your nose and sinuses. He or she inserts the endoscope into a nostril and guides it into your nasal cavity.
- Imaging studies.Images obtained with computerized tomography (CT) can help your doctor pinpoint the size and location of polyps in deeper areas of your sinuses and evaluate the extent of inflammation. These studies may also help your doctor rule out the presence of other possible obstructions in your nasal cavity, such as structural abnormalities or another type of cancerous or noncancerous growth.
- Allergy tests.Your doctor may suggest skin tests to determine if allergies are contributing to chronic inflammation. With a skin prick test, tiny drops of allergy-causing agents (allergens) are pricked into the skin of your forearm or upper back. The drops are left on your skin for 15 minutes before your doctor or nurse observes your skin for signs of allergic reactions.
If a skin test can’t be performed, your doctor may order a blood test that screens for specific antibodies to various allergens.
- Test for cystic fibrosis.If you have a child diagnosed with nasal polyps, your doctor may suggest testing for cystic fibrosis, an inherited condition affecting the glands that produce mucus, tears, sweat, saliva and digestive juices. The standard diagnostic test for cystic fibrosis is a noninvasive sweat test, which determines whether your child’s perspiration is saltier than most people’s sweat is.
Homeopathic Medicines for Nasal Polyps
Lemna Minor – Top grade Homeopathic medicine for nasal polyps
Lemna Minor is one of the top grade Homeopathic medicines for nasal polyps. Lemna Minor works well where there is obstruction of nose and loss of smell from nasal polyps. Putrid smell in nose may also be felt in some cases. Thick, yellow-white discharge from the nose is another attending feature.
Teucrium Marum –
Teucrium Marum is a most wonderful Homeopathic medicine for nasal polyps with marked nasal blockage. A unique symptom is obstruction of the side of the nose on which the person lies down. Loss of smell is also noted. Crawling sensation in the nose may arise. Ozaena -chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa resulting in its atrophy.
Sanguinaria Nitricum and Kali Nitricum – Excellent Homeopathic medicines for right-sided nasal polyps
Calcarea Carb –
Calcarea Carb is an extremely suitable Homeopathic medicine for left-sided nasal polyp. Other attending features are fetid smell and yellow discharge from nose. In the morning, dryness in nose may be felt. Sneezing, markedly in the morning time, may also attend. Calcarea Carb tend to catch a cold easily, with the slightest change in weather.
Allium Cepa –
In case of nasal polyps with constant sneezing. An attending feature is watery discharge of burning, acrid nature from the nose. The nasal discharge corrodes the upper lips. Headache may also persist along with fluent coryza. There’s a lump at the root of the nose.
Kali Bichromicum –
For post nasal discharge in nasal polyps cases, Homeopathic medicine Kali Bichromicum is selected. The post nasal discharge is thick, lumpy, ropy in nature. It is attended with much hawking. Marked pressure at the root of nose is complained of. Fetid smell from the nose is another concern. Violent sneezing in the morning time may accompany the above features.
Phosphorus is a very effective Homeopathic medicine for nasal polyps that bleed easily. Apart from the bleeding, the condition is accompanied by coryza with dull headache and sneezing which worsens with strong odours. Blocked nose early in the morning is a sure sign that Phosphorus will work. Also, in cases where coryza and dryness of the nose alternate.