Nasal Polyps are non-cancerous, also known as benign, growth that develop in the lining of the nose and the sinuses. They are fleshy swellings that develop due to the inflammation of the mucus membranes inside the nose, which over time take the shape of teardrops, called polyps. They can either grow in clusters or individually and also vary in sizes as well as color, some being yellowish-brown and some pink in color. Although they can affect people of all age groups and sexes, nasal polyps are more likely to be seen in young and middle-aged male adults.
These nasal polyps are like small cysts that can obstruct the nasal passageway of the individual and make it rather difficult for them to breathe properly. While they are not life-threatening in nature, living with nasal polyps can be really tedious and difficult because of the symptoms it carries. They are rather common in nature and over four to forty percent of the general population is affected by it, with males being more affected than their counterparts. Although, people with no underlying nasal or respiratory problems might develop nasal polyps, it is found that individuals with conditions like asthma, allergies, cystic fibrosis etc. tend to be more susceptible to the condition and might suffer from it in the future.
Various signs and symptoms can be associated with the formation of nasal polyps, some of which are listed below:
Runny nose: Nasal Polyps is often accompanied with runny nose, a situation that occurs when the excess mucus travels out of the nose, is a very common symptom among people with this condition. But, the runny nose one experiences due to nasal polyps is different than the one they face in general. In the case of nasal polyps, the runny nose lasts longer than three weeks, while in normal cases it mostly lasts a day to a week.
Stuffy nose: With the polyps present in the nasal cavity and blocking the airways, stuffy nose becomes another common symptom of nasal polyps. The large polyps make it pretty difficult to breathe for the individual and leaves them feeling stuffy and congested because of it. They also irritate the nasal passage, causing them to swell up, making the situation worse.
Loss/diminished sense of smell & taste: As mentioned above, nasal polyps obstruct the nasal passage which can ultimately cause a partial and at times complete loss of smell and taste among the patient. This is mainly because of the polyps present inside the nose preventing the smell from reaching the spots inside the nose designated to distinguish smell, hence, causing a loss of it and leaving the person with no way to recognize it. And since taste and smell are interlinked, a loss in taste occurs as well.
Headache: Headaches are another common symptom of nasal polyps. Although, these are more often than not paired with sinus infections, which the individual is more likely to get due to nasal polyps. The patient might experience throbbing, painful sensations around their jaw and ears as well as on their face and foreheads in some cases. Pain medication can be taken to deal with this symptom.
Postnasal drip: In simple words, postnasal drip is the extra mucus one can feel at the back of their throat. In the case of nasal polyps, the postnasal drip becomes worse and there is a significant rise in the amount of mucus that runs down one’s throat. It is easy to confuse post nasal drip with runny nose but in the case of runny nose, mucus out of the nose while in the case of postnasal drip it runs down the throat.
Snoring: In many cases of nasal polyps, the individual might develop snoring or there might be a rise in it if they are already in the habit of doing so. The snoring can be linked to the sinus infection or the inflamed sinuses due to the nasal polyps. The obstructed airways make it difficult to breathe and lead to snoring.
Frequent bloody nose: Bloody nose is pretty frequent among people with nasal polyps. This is because of the inflammation inside their nose, which might tweak the delicate blood vessels inside it and cause bleeding. These nosebleeds aren’t very serious though and can be stopped by tipping the person’s head back or just patting it down with a tissue.
There are a lot of options available for nasal polyps treatment, medication and surgery being the major ones. Seeking medical counsel for it is highly suggested.