Spring is upon us and there are so many flowers in bloom, most of us are not surprised by their fragrance in the air. If you can’t seem to smell the rejuvenation of Springtime, it could be that your nasal passages are obstructed by polyps. Nasal polyps are small grape-shaped growths that not only dampen the sense of smell but may also make it difficult to breathe. It is estimated that up to 30 percent of Americans are affected by nasal polyps. In addition to causing difficulty breathing, these growths may contribute to chronic rhinosinusitis. Here we discuss how to know if you may have nasal polyps and what to do if you suspect this condition.
How to Tell If You Have Nasal Polyps
Smaller nasal polyps may not present symptoms. Polyps that have grown larger may cause:
- Diminished sense of smell
- Postnasal drip
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Diminished sense of taste
- Chronic runny nose
- Excessive mucus
- Facial pressure or pain
- Chronic sinus infections
- Sleep apnea
Diagnosing and Treating Nasal Polyps
Diagnostic tests such as a nasal endoscopy or CT scan can identify if polyps are present and, if so, where they are located. Testing also identifies how many polyps may have developed and their size. Based on these findings, medical management may involve:
- Saline spray or irrigation to cleanse the sinuses and keep them moistened.
- Nasal steroid spray may be used to reduce inflammation. This may also decrease polyp size.
- Allergy treatment, including medication or immunotherapy.
- Oral steroids may be prescribed if steroid spray does not reduce polyps within a few days.
Surgery called Polypectomy may be considered when conservative measures do not achieve the desired level of improvement. This procedure extracts excess tissue using local anesthetic and a small device.