Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Nasal Polyps: An Overview

Nasal polyps are abnormal growths that occur inside the nasal passages and the sinuses (canals found behind the cheekbones). They can range from unnoticeable growths right up to large lumps, and sometimes they can even hang outside the nose. They vary in color from pink but can also be yellow or grey. They are soft and often described as jelly-like.

Symptoms of nasal polyps:
Nasal polyps tend to be unnoticeable at first, being dismissed as the irritation associated with a common cold. Some early symptoms include itchiness in your throat and your nose becoming stuffy or occasionally clogged up. These symptoms can worsen, and are often followed by your nose running a lot, unexplained bleeding and your nostrils becoming clogged completely.

 In some cases, if these growths are deep enough inside your nose they can block the airways at the back of your nasal cavity completely. When nasal polyps get big enough, they are easily visible from the outside.

Nasal polyps can also cause you to have difficulty breathing which can result in a loss of sleep  as well as snoring, although this is a less common symptom. You will also find that you are more tired and have difficulty concentrating due to your body's oxygen levels decreasing. You will often compensate by breathing through your mouth, which will cause you to be more susceptible to colds and upper airway infections due to the fact that you cannot filter the air you breathe through your nose.

So, in short, symptoms include:
  • Nasal congestion
  • Anosmia (loss of sense of smell)
  • Sinusitis
  • Secondary infection which can lead to headaches
  • Snoring may occur while sleeping
  • Facial changes are not common, but are can occur
  • Nose bleeds
  • Coryza

Cause of Nasal Polyps:

The exact cause for nasal polyps is unknown; however, they are commonly thought to be caused by:

  • Asthma
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Exposure to some forms of chromium
  • There are a few illnesses that can be associated with nasal polyp formation:
  • Asthma
  • Chronic rhinosinusitis
  • Aspirin intolerance
  • Kartagener's syndrome
  • Young's syndrome
  • Churg-Strauss syndrome
  • Nasal Mastocytosis
  • Cystic fibrosis

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