Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nasal Polyps – Nasal Polyposis

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Nasal polyps are growths in the nasal cavity. They often look like grapes or small balloons within the structures of the nasal cavity.
What is going on in the body?
The nose acts as a filter, removing over 80% of particles in the air. A variety of agents entering the nose can cause inflammation. These agents include pollens, mold spores, animal dander, dust mites, dust, and dirt. Nasal polyps are the result of long-term, untreated nasal inflammation. Rarely, the polyps may protrude through the nostrils.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Many disorders can lead to nasal polyps, including:
  • asthma, a disease of the airways that is the most common cause
  • chronic allergies
  • sinusitis, particularly sinus infections cause by a fungus
  • cystic fibrosis, a congenital disease that affects the airways
  • sensitivity to aspirin
  • structural abnormalities of the nose

Symptoms & Signs

What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?
Most people with polyps already have sinus and nasal problems. The symptoms of nasal polyps are related to those illnesses. These include:
  • nasal blockage
  • chronic facial pain or headache
  • excessive nasal secretions
  • impaired sense of smell
  • excessive post nasal drip, with nasal secretions going down the back of the throat
  • chronic cough

Diagnosis & Tests

How is the condition diagnosed?
Large nasal polyps are easy for the healthcare provider to see during a nasal exam with a special instrument. CT scans can clarify the extent of the underlying problem. Usually, nasal polyps are present in both sides of the nose.
If a polyp only appears on one side, it may be a tumor. In this case, a biopsy is needed to check for cancer.

Prevention & Expectations

What can be done to prevent the condition?
Prevention involves proper control of the underlying problem. A person with chronic bacterial sinusitis needs to take the appropriate antibiotics. If there are structural abnormalities within the nose, they can be corrected surgically.
What are the long-term effects of the condition?
Untreated nasal polyps cause blockage of sinus drainage. If this occurs, chronic sinusitis can develop. Expanding mucus buildup can put pressure on the nerves that control eye movement and vision. This creates double vision or other visual impairments. In addition, mucus buildup can eventually lead to displacement of the eyeball in its socket. Sense of smell may become lost and asthma may become more difficult to manage.
What are the risks to others?
There are no risks to others, as the polyps are not contagious.

Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?
Polyps can usually be reduced with long-term nasal steroid therapy and management of the underlying disorder. If an individual continues to have symptoms despite medical therapy, surgery may be recommended.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Side effects are specific to the medications used. In the case of surgery, hemorrhage, infection, and injury to eye structures may rarely occur.
What happens after treatment for the condition?
The symptoms usually subside after medical treatment. However, new polyps often develop, especially in people with asthma. Children with cystic fibrosis usually continue to have difficulties with polyps.
How is the condition monitored?
One of the earliest symptoms of polyp recurrence is the loss of sense of smell. If this occurs, a person should seek medical attention. Because recurrence is common, regular medical follow-up helps to determine the rate of regrowth and what type of therapy may be necessary. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.
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Author:Mark Loury, MD
Date Written:
Editor:Planko, Christa, MA
Edit Date:04/19/00
Reviewer:Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
Date Reviewed:08/20/0

Source: Nasal Polyps Treatment

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