Nasal polyps are benign, smooth growths of inflamed nasal mucosa, the tissue lining the nose or sinuses. Typically, these types of polyps will start on the inside of the nose near or in a sinus and grow outward into the more open areas of the nose.
Sometimes the polyps can grow to be so large that they can block the sinus openings or even the entire nasal airway, as seen below.
Medical research is ongoing to discover why certain people get polyps, but these growths are associated with certain conditions, particularly allergies and asthma. Other disease that are associated with nasal polyps include aspirin sensitivity, chronic sinus infections, cystic fibrosis, and allergic fungal sinusitis.
People with nasal polyps often complain about difficulty breathing through the nose, nasal stuffiness, reduced or lost sense of smell, trouble with nasal drainage, and mouth-breathing. Often, these patients complain of having a cold that has lasted for months or years. Headaches or pain are usually not common with nasal polyps unless there is also a sinus infection.
Medications help relieve symptoms but rarely get rid of nasal polyps. Nasal steroid sprays and oral steroid pills can help shrink the polyps, but often the polyps come right back when the medication is stopped. Antibiotics can help if there is a sinus infection. Many times, people may need surgery to remove the polyps, such as functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS).
Once the polyps are removed, therapy is aimed at trying to prevent the polyps from returning. Nasal sprays, antihistamines, and allergy shots all can help.
If you’re interested in learning more about allergy and sinus treatment options from Dr. Franzese and her team of specialists please call her office directly at (757) 889-5632.
About Dr. Christine Franzese
Christine Franzese, MD, FAAOA, is a board certified otolaryngologist. She completed a residency in Otolaryngology at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Franzese’s specialties include: allergies and allergy shots, sinus problems (acute and chronic), mild asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid masses or nodules, salivary gland disorders and nodules, and pediatric ENT issues (ear infections, tonsillitis). She has surgical expertise with removing tonsils and adenoids, thyroidectomies, parathyroidectomies, parotidectomies, and has extensive experience with sinus surgeries. She offers functional endoscopic sinus surgery, image-guided sinus surgery, and balloon sinuplasty procedures.