Nasal polyps are abnormal growths in the lining of the nose, affecting up to 10% of people. While they’re usually not serious, having nasal polyps can be uncomfortable and can interfere with proper breathing. Read on to learn more about the common signs and symptoms of nasal polyps, as well as possible treatment and prevention options.
1. Nasal Congestion & Difficulty Breathing
The most common symptom of nasal polyps is a feeling of nasal congestion, making it difficult to breathe through your nose. You may also experience post-nasal drip, which is caused by mucus buildup in the back of your throat.
2. Loss of Smell or Bad Smell
One of the most common early signs of nasal polyps is a loss of smell — either a decrease in your ability to detect odors or having a bad smell in your nose. This is because the polyps can obstruct normal sinus drainage and cause bacteria to build up in the nasal and sinus cavities.
3. Itchy & Runny Nose
A runny or itchy nose is another common symptom of nasal polyps. You may also have an occasional sneeze as a result of the irritation caused by the polyps.
4. Headaches & Facial Pressure
Some people with nasal polyps may experience headaches and facial pain, especially in the forehead area. This is because the polyp is pressing against the wall of your sinuses, causing them to swell and press against your forehead.
5. Snoring & Sleep Apnea
If your nasal polyps are blocking your airways, it can cause snoring and sleep apnea, a disorder where you stop breathing during sleep. This can cause you to wake up multiple times during the night, leaving you feeling tired and exhausted during the day.
Treatment & Prevention of Nasal Polyps
If you experience any of these symptoms of nasal polyps, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor. They likely will recommend medications or surgery to reduce the size of the polyps. You can also make lifestyle changes to help prevent nasal polyps, such as avoiding irritating substances like tobacco smoke or aerosol sprays, using nasal saline rinses, and taking antihistamines to reduce your allergy symptoms.