The mucus membrane lining the sinuses is extremely sensitive to minor irritants, allergies or any other foreign body. It reacts to this by increasing the production of mucus as a protective mechanism. This is what ultimately leads to the symptoms of sinusitis. In most people, this overproduction of decreases as the infection subsides, however in others the mucus production can continue, the membrane itself can grow forming polyps or a combination of the both.
These nasal polyps are rarely ever malignant and can thus be treated conservatively at first in an attempt to reduce their size and make them asymptomatic. Some of the treatment options for nasal polyps are:
The course of medication to help reduce the polyps or even make them disappear completely will vary with the exact nature of symptoms. Your doctors are likely to choose an oral corticosteroid to reduce the inflammatory component or the same medication can be delivered via the nasal spray route. Injectable corticosteroids are usually reserved for situations where the polyps are particularly large or the symptoms extremely severe.
These drugs are given for a short time only since they are associated with some serious side effects. Along with these the use of nasal decongestants, antibiotics and anti-allergic medication may also be advised to help fight the various causative factors for the formation of nasal polyps.
Surgery for the removal of nasal polyps is usually advised only after the patient has shown little or no improvement after being prescribed the necessary medications. The surgical procedure itself is minor and performed as an outpatient procedure.
The doctor will use an endoscope to visualize the extent of the polyp and then use specialized instruments to remove them from the sinus cavity. This will help establish a clear path of drainage and help in the alleviation of the symptoms of sinusitis.
Sometimes, after the removal of the polyp, the opening of the sinus may need to be enlarged so that further blockage does not occur. The recurrence rate of polyps is pretty high because even if a small strand of membrane is left behind or breaks off during the procedure, it can again grow back to form a polyp.
Long Term Prevention
There are some simple things that you can do after the nasal polyps have been removed which will help in reducing their incidence as well as that of the associated sinusitis from recurring. Make sure you get yourself examined for any allergies that you may not be aware about. Exposure to atmospheric irritants as given out by cigarette smoke, industrial pollution or vehicular pollution should be minimized. Learn how to administer an at home nasal lavage as that will help clear the passage of any potential irritants. The use of a humidifier, particularly if the area where you reside is dry and arid, is also highly recommended. The last tip is to make sure you are very particular about your hand hygiene. This is the most common way in which micro-organisms enter the nasal passage.
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