Nasal polyps are small nodules inside the nasal passages. They can be the cause of post nasal drip, sinus problems and can even obstruct breathing. Knowing the early warning signs of nasal polyps can help you diagnose and treat the problem. If you have any of these symptoms or warning signs, you should discuss them with your ENT doctor. He can perform some tests to diagnose the nasal polyps and will recommend the proper treatment.
You can have one nasal polyp or there can be multiple polyps that can be clustered together. The polyps are soft with a consistency of jelly. If they are very small they may pose no problem. When a nasal polyp is large or is in a particular spot, it may block the nasal passages. This restriction can obstruct the airways, making it difficult to breathe through your nose.
Many people may unknowingly be suffering from nasal polyps and hence, not receiving the proper treatment. Here are some early warning signs of nasal polyps to look out for:
- Mouth breathing - Any obstruction of the nasal passageways can result in mouth breathing. However, if mouth breathing is chronic or is not associated with a cold, it may be caused by nasal polyps.
- Runny nose - A continuous runny nose with no other associated symptoms may be the result of nasal polyps. Allergies can cause a runny nose but they may also cause any polyps that are present to enlarge, making symptoms more noticeable.
- Persistent stuffiness - Nasal polyps can cause the nasal passages to be blocked and therefore create the feeling of having a stuffy nose. The symptoms may or may not affect both nostrils.
- Chronic sinus infections - If you have chronic sinus infections, nasal polyps may be to blame. Sinus infections are more likely to occur after a cold in those with nasal polyps, as the latter can become infected or can cause the passageways to hold more mucus than usual.
- Loss or diminished sense of smell - Nasal polyps can cause a loss of smell. The polyps can block the membranes responsible for helping our sense of smell.
- Dull headaches - If you get frequent, dull headaches, nasal polyps may be to blame. The result is a dull ache that is similar to a sinus headache, as the polyps create pressure in the nasal passages.
- Snoring - There are many reasons for snoring. If the snoring is chronic, nasal polyps may be to blame. Often overlooked, nasal polyps are a common cause of snoring.
Although only an ENT doctor can identify and diagnose nasal polyps, the above are some of the early warning signs that suggest the potential existence of polyps. If you have one or more of these symptoms bring them to the attention of your ENT doctor.
Nasal polyps are often treated successfully with medications, such as prescription nasal sprays, which help keep the polyps small enough so that they are not a problem. For nasal polyps that are large or numerous, surgery is often the recommended form of treatment.