Nasal polyps are noncancerous or benign growths, that are soft and painless. These growths develop on the lining of the sinuses or nasal passages. They seem to be hanging down like teardrops or grapes. Nasal polyps are closely associated with allergies, chronic inflammation, asthma, sensitivity to certain medications and recurrent infections. They may even be associated with certain immune disorders.(1)
How To Diagnose Nasal Polyps?
Your doctor will conduct a physical examination, especially of your nose. If you have polyps, they may be visible with the help of an instrument with a light, during the physical examination of your nose.(2)
In case of doubts or where polyps cannot be easily seen, there may be a need for other diagnostic tests. These may include-
A nasal endoscopy that is conducted with the help of a nasal endoscope, can help in a detailed examination of the nasal passages and sinuses
This test can show the presence of polyps clearly(2)
Scanning or imaging such as CT scan (computerized tomography scanning) can help in telling the exact place and size of the polyps.
This is especially helpful in those deeper sections of sinuses that cannot be accessed otherwise
Scans can also help gauge the extent or degree of inflammation and irritation
These scans may also help in ruling out other cancerous and noncancerous conditions(2)
Tests For Allergies-
Certain skin tests may be carried out to see if allergies are the reason for your inflammation
For this, very small drops of allergens are introduced in your skin with the help of tiny pricks in the skin
The doctor then observes your skin for any allergic reactions to eth allergens introduced
In case the skin allergy tests cannot be done, your doctor may recommend certain blood tests that may help in identifying antibodies to different types of allergens(2)
If a child has been diagnosed with nasal polyps, the doctors may ask to undergo a test for cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited condition that affects your glands that make tears, mucus, sweat, saliva, digestive juices, etc.
The test is a non-invasive one, in which the sweat of the child is tested to see if it contains more salt than most other people’s sweat(2)
Blood tests may be required to check for low levels of vitamin d, which is said to be connected with nasal polyps(2)
What Is The Best Medicine For Nasal Polyps?
The treatment for nasal polyps focuses on reducing their size or removing them. The first choice of treatment is usually medication. Surgery may be required sometimes. However, it does not provide a permanent solution as polyps tend to recur, even after removal.(2)
Medications May Include-
These are usually in the form of a spray and reduce irritation and inflammation
These may include fluticasone, mometasone, etc.
These may shrink the polyps or even remove them completely(2)
Oral Or Injectable Corticosteroids-
If nasal corticosteroid does not help, there may be a need for oral or injectable corticosteroids
These may include prednisone
Oral and injectable corticosteroids may be given in combination with nasal spray, or alone
However, there may be side effects with oral corticosteroids. Hence, they are taken only for a short time
Injectable ones are recommended in severe cases(2)
These medicines are used to treat the conditions that are responsible for nasal polyps. Example, antihistamines are given for allergies that cause inflammation, and likewise(2)
Surgery is needed when medicines do not work.(2)
Nasal polyps are diagnosed with the help of physical examination, imaging tests or nasal endoscopy. Sometimes, blood tests may be carried out too. The best approach to treating nasal polyps is through medications. If medicines do not work, surgery is considered.