Nasal polyps are small fluid filled sacs that develop from the tissue lining the nasal passages and sinus cavities. These growths lead to obstruction and the troubling symptoms of recurring sinus infections, severe nasal congestion, loss of or diminished sense of smell, post-nasal drip and headache.
The exact nature of nasal polyps remains incompletely understood. They are the result of chronic inflammation, and allergies and infections enhance the development and growth of nasal polyps. They are more common in people older than 40, and can be associated with such conditions as asthma, aspirin sensitivity, and cystic fibrosis. “Triad asthma” represents a condition of aspirin sensitivity, asthma and nasal polyps.
Nasal polyps may be challenging to manage. In general, they represent a chronic condition, and even with removal, have a tendency for regrowth. Aggressive medical measures to minimize the inflammation are essential, generally with the regular use of topical intranasal steroid sprays. Desensitization to allergens and aspirin is often indicated. If the nasal polyps are extensive, surgical removal may also be necessary. The best results tend to be achieved through the combined expertise of allergists and otorhinolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat doctors, or ENT’s).