All About Nasal Polyps: Risk Factors, Complications, and Treatment Options

All About Nasal Polyps: Risk Factors, Complications, and Treatment Options

Chances are you don’t give your nasal cavity and sinuses much thought until you’re congested or suffering from a sinus headache. These spaces are meant to be empty and open. The moist, exposed surfaces are designed to warm up and humidify the air you breathe, while the tiny hairs and mucus are there to trap airborne microorganisms entering your body.

Anything that restricts these functions — such as nasal polyps — can make it hard to breathe. Nasal polyps are soft, noncancerous growths in the nasal cavity, and they can inhibit breathing and cause a number of complications. 

Otolaryngologist Alexis Furze, MD, specializes in treating conditions that interfere with the natural flow of air through the nasal cavity at his practice in Newport Beach, California. Though these growths are benign, they can make life more difficult. Here’s what you need to know about nasal polyps.

The basics of nasal polyps

Nasal polyps are soft, teardrop-shaped growths made of inflamed tissue. As mentioned, they’re noncancerous, but they can still be problematic.

Polyps can inhibit or block nasal breathing, and they can also impede natural drainage of the nasal cavity. Furthermore, polyps can combine with other conditions and factors to crowd the airways.

Risk factors for nasal polyps 

The development of nasal polyps isn’t fully understood, though there are connections to chronic inflammation and immune system responses. Some factors may increase your chances for growing nasal polyps, though their presence doesn’t guarantee that they’ll cause breathing issues. Common risk factors include:

There may be a genetic connection, too. If someone in your immediate family has nasal polyps, you may be more at risk for them. 

Complications from nasal polyps

There’s sometimes a cyclical nature to polyps. Sinus infections can raise the risk for developing nasal polyps. Nasal polyps can then increase the risk for additional sinus infections. The same holds true for asthma. Asthma can increase the risk for polyp growth, and polyps can increase the risk for more asthma attacks.

Restrictions in airflow due to nasal polyps can also contribute to obstructive sleep apnea, which is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that briefly stops breathing many times throughout the night. Obstructive sleep apnea, in turn, can increase the risk for several other health issues, such as high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.

Treating nasal polyps

There are a variety of options when it comes to treating nasal polyps. Dr. Furze frequently recommends SINUVA™ sinus implants, which help shrink nasal polyps. If the polyps are particularly problematic, he may recommend functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) to free up space in the nasal cavity and sinuses.

Or, he may recommend oral, injectable, or nasal spray corticosteroids, which can shrink or eliminate polyps. Furthermore, he may recommend antihistamines or antibiotics to treat conditions that can cause chronic inflammation in the sinuses and nasal cavity.

If you have polyps and want treatment, or if you want to see if nasal polyps are causing your symptoms, Dr. Furze can give you a thorough evaluation and discuss your next steps. To learn more, call 949-389-6673 to book an appointment with the practice of Alexis Furze, MD, today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

The Secret to Treating Nasal Polyps without Surgery

Though noncancerous, nasal polyps can nonetheless interfere with your health. These common, benign growths rarely cause symptoms when small, but they can interfere with breathing and normal sinus drainage if they get bigger.

When to See a Doctor for Postnasal Drip

It might be the worst part of having a cold. You’ve felt rough for a week, you’re beginning to feel better, and then your postnasal drip won’t stop. In fact, it starts to irritate your throat again. While it usually passes, there are times when it needs me

Can Eyelid Surgery Help Me See Better?

As you age, your skin thins and loses elasticity. And, gravity can make sagging even more pronounced. Sagging skin in the eyelids may not only create a tired appearance, but it may also affect your eyesight. Read on to learn more.

What Happens During Revision Rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty, commonly known as a nose job, is a complex surgery, because both aesthetics and function are essential to a successful result. With a revision rhinoplasty, we make adjustments to the original procedure.

How to Get Rid of a Bothersome Scar

While small cuts and scrapes can often heal without a trace, more serious wounds and surgical incisions can leave fibrous scar tissue behind. The good news is, there are things you can do to eliminate or reduce the appearance of scars.

8 Potential Causes of Your Runny Nose

If it’s outside of allergy season and you don’t have a cold, you can still suffer from a runny nose. There can be a number of reasons for this annoying problem. Here are eight of them.