Understanding Nasal Polyps
Sinus issues have long worked as a tiny plague for many people, worldwide. Between the headaches, sneezing, drippy noses, and watery eyes, it can be a challenge just to get through the day. It doesn’t matter if there’s a wedding, a graduation, or some other special event, sinus problems can show up anytime. Nasal polyps are no exception. Let’s take a moment to look at just what this condition is, its causes, symptoms, and surgical concerns.
What Is a Nasal Polyp?
Nasal polyps are minor, non-cancerous growths which cultivate inside the nose and/or sinus zones. Nasal polyps are typically located in the areas where the sinuses are exposed in the nasal cavity. While immature polyps form a teardrop shape, more established nasal polyps look like skinned grapes. Nasal polyps aren’t life threatening. As a matter of fact, most people don’t even realize that they’re there—especially if they’re small. Nasal polyps are most often brought on by asthma or common allergies. They may seem frightening, given that polyps in other parts of the body could indicate the presence of cancer, however, when it comes to nasal polyps, cancer is not a concern.
What Are the Causes of Nasal Polyps?
If you’ve been diagnosed with nasal polyps or suspect you may have the condition, you’re probably wondering how this happened. The following are the most typical and common causes for nasal polyps:
1. long-lasting or recurrent sinus infections, sensitive rhinitis or hay fever;
3. cystic fibrosis;
4. Churg-Strauss disease;
5. sensitivity to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or even aspirin;
6. genetic predisposition.
Common Symptoms of Nasal Polyps
As mentioned earlier, nasal polyps usually aren’t a threat to health, but just like anything else, nasal polyps do come with some common problems. To begin with, nasal polyps are associated with the irritation of the lining of one’s nasal passageways as well the sinus areas. This irritation could last several months. Some of the most common signs of nasal polyps include the following: runny nose, congestion, post nasal drip, reduction in or lack of smell, loss of taste, facial discomfort or headache, pain in your upper teeth, a sense of heaviness in your forehead and face, and an upsurge in snoring.
More serious symptoms requiring immediate medical care include: difficulty while breathing, unexpected escalation of existing symptoms, double vision, abridged sight or loss of eye movement, inflammation around the eyes, or a severe headache which may be accompanied by a high fever or the inability to bend your head forward. These symptoms are rare but serious, and most people suffering with nasal polyps don’t experience symptoms to this degree, but there are exceptions, so it’s good be aware.
Despite the array of symptoms associated with the condition, often times it can be difficult to detect that you have nasal polyps. Generally, nasal polyps are quite soft and may remain undetected for some time. If your nasal polyps remain small, you may not even realize you have them at all. Larger nasal polyps or numerous growths present themselves differently. Your nasal passages or sinuses may become congested with enlarged polyps.
Children and Nasal Polyps
One segment of the population often overlooked when considering nasal polyps, are children. Nasal polyps in children have been noted to be more common an occurrence. Young children are constantly fighting off bacteria throughout the body, especially in the nasal and sinus zones. That’s one reason we see so many runny noses in that age level. How many of us have seen a group of young children playing outside? Now, how many of those children were sneezing or suffering with a runny nose? At least half of the group will probably have a runny nose, which if not treated effectively, may develop nasal polyps. Nasal polyps in children may become a more serious concern because young children with underdeveloped immune systems usually have a harder time fighting illnesses off.
Facts About Nasal Polyps Surgery
Limitations, in general, tend to be aggravating, especially if you’re a person who is used to that get-up-and-go behavior. Sometimes, nasal polyps can curtail that activity. The majority of nasal polyp cases aren’t serious, but there are exceptions. In some instances, you may require surgery to remove the nasal polyps if they grow too large. Enlarged polyps may pose more serious health risks, and sometimes even life-threatening ones, making surgery necessary.
Let’s say that you and your doctor have been treating your nasal polyps with minor, noninvasive methods and found that it hasn’t been working. Your doctor mentions that you are a candidate for surgery. You’ll probably have some questions about the procedure in general as well as what your limitations will be afterward. That’s absolutely normal.
After undergoing nasal polyps surgery, you may wake feeling a bit queasy due to the sedatives, but everyone’s tolerance and experience will be different. You’ll generally be released within a few hours. Typically, there is a two-week recovery period. Keep in mind that everyone is different, but a couple of weeks is the average for most patients. After surgery, you may feel very congested, like you have a bad cold, but that should only last a day or two. Nasal polyps surgery is quite different from a typical nasal surgery in that it involves working within the already inflamed tissues of the nose. This makes the procedure a bit more extensive than a typical nasal surgery. That’s why you’ll have that congested feeling.
In addition to a feeling of congestion, fatigue is very common as well. This may last a few days, so your physician may recommend rest. Try not to move around too much if you can avoid it. This might be difficult to achieve if you live by yourself, but try to take it slow and only perform the necessary tasks at home. Skipping laundry for a couple of days may be a good idea. After a nasal polyps surgery, there aren’t many stringent personal limitations, but the key is to take things slow and pace yourself whenever doing a household routine.
There are some key elements you’ll be asked to do the first two weeks after a nasal polyps surgery.
1. Do not blow your nose. You’ll need to avoid blowing your nose during the first two weeks after surgery to help prevent nosebleeds.
2. Stop smoking for the first two weeks after your surgery to keep the miniature vessels in your nose from decreasing, which will delay the healing procedure. Consider it a jumpstart to permanently kicking the habit.
3. Avoid hot showers or drinking hot liquids, as either could lead to a nosebleed.
4. Take only the pain medications prescribed by your surgeon. Any other pain medication—even if it’s a simple Tylenol—can actually increase the risk of bleeding.
5. A saline rinse may be recommended to keep the tissue moist.
There aren’t many patient limitations when it comes to having a nasal polyps surgery. The key component is to take things slow, avoid undue strain on the nose, avoid hot drinks and baths, and don’t pick up a cigarette within the first two weeks after surgery.
Don’t Ignore the Health Signals
If you are currently experiencing persistent sinus infections, see your medical practitioner. When your body is dealing with an impurity or a minor annoyance, that’s a red sign that something isn’t right and it’s time to find the source of the problem. Our bodies are very easy to read, despite what you’ve been told. Yes, we are complicated, but if you pay attention to the warning signs, it’s easy to pick up on issues. It may not be easy to know what exactly is wrong—that’s for the doctor to determine—but it is easy to know when something is wrong.