Nasal polyps are soft, noncancerous growths that can develop in the lining of the nose and sinuses. They are often associated with chronic sinusitis and allergies and can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, postnasal drip, and difficulty breathing.
While small polyps may not cause significant symptoms, larger polyps can interfere with daily life and may require treatment. In this article, we will explore the various treatment options for nasal polyps, including medications and polypectomy.
Medication is often the first line of treatment for nasal polyps. Medication can help to reduce inflammation and shrink the size of the polyps. Several types of medication may be used to treat nasal polyps, including:
These anti-inflammatory medications can be taken orally, topically, or as a nasal spray. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation in the nasal passages and can help shrink nasal polyps. In severe cases, oral corticosteroids may be prescribed for short-term use, while nasal sprays are often used as a long-term treatment option. Oral corticosteroids may cause serious side effects and should, therefore, only be taken for a brief period.
In case of nasal polyps and persistent sinusitis, the doctor or nose sinus specialist might prescribe an injection of dupilumab (Dupixent) to treat your condition. The medication can potentially decrease the size of nasal polyps and alleviate congestion.
Sinus infections and nasal polyps often go hand in hand. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics when you have a bacterial sinus infection and nasal polyps. Since sinus infections are typically caused by viruses, antibiotics cannot treat them. Antibiotics treat the infection that causes inflammation. Polyps will be shrunk with other medications, such as steroids.
Polypectomy may be recommended if the medication does not effectively manage the symptoms or the polyps are large and causing significant obstruction. Polypectomy is a surgical procedure involving removing the polyps from the nasal passages.
There are several different techniques that may be used for polypectomy, including:
1. Endoscopic polypectomy
This is the most common technique used for polypectomy. It involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light on the end (an endoscope) into the nasal passages to visualise the polyps. Small instruments are then used to remove the polyps through the endoscope.
2. Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS)
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) is a more extensive procedure that is used to treat severe cases of nasal polyps or when other treatments have failed. FESS involves using an endoscope to visualise the sinuses and remove any obstructions or diseased tissue.
3. Balloon sinuplasty
This minimally invasive procedure can be used to treat polyps in the sinuses. It involves inserting a small balloon catheter into the blocked sinus cavity through the nostril. The balloon is then inflated, which expands the sinus opening, allowing for better drainage and airflow. Once the sinus cavity has been expanded, the balloon is deflated and removed.
After polypectomy, medication may be prescribed to help prevent the regrowth of polyps. It is important to follow the post-operative instructions provided by the surgeon to ensure a successful recovery.
Nasal polyps can be a frustrating condition to deal with, but there are several treatment options available. Medications, such as corticosteroids, are often the first line of treatment and can effectively shrink polyps and reduce symptoms.
Polypectomy may be necessary for patients with severe or recurrent nasal polyps. This surgical procedure is typically safe and effective and can provide long-lasting relief from nasal polyps. Discussing all treatment options with a doctor from an ear nose throat clinic to determine the best course of action for your individual needs is important. With proper management, nasal polyps can be effectively treated, allowing for improved quality of life and symptom relief.