Sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection, is a condition that affects more than 35 million Americans each year. Given its widespread impact, it’s understandable that most people are familiar with what this condition is and the symptoms it involves. However, less is known about nasal polyps, a condition that may develop in conjunction with sinusitis. In fact, some people may not even be aware that they have nasal polyps.
In this blog, the ENT doctors at Sinus Center of Atlanta will provide a clear explanation of what nasal polyps are and how they may develop in connection with sinusitis.
A Simple Overview of Nasal Polyps
Nasal polyps are chronically inflamed linings of the nasal passages or sinuses which form bulky folds and outgrowths. They commonly emerge in places where the sinuses open into the nasal cavities. These tear-shaped growths can range in size from small polyps that may be asymptomatic to larger polyps that create problems. The larger the nasal polyps, the more likely they are to cause nasal obstruction, bring on repeated sinus infections, interfere with breathing, cause congestion and more.
Large nasal polyps may result in a number of symptoms, including:
- Chronic nasal congestion
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Post-nasal drip
- Runny nose
- Reduced sense of smell or taste
- Recurring sinusitis
- Exacerbation of asthma
The Relationship Between Nasal Polyps and Chronic Sinusitis
There is a close relationship between nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis. While many factors aside from nasal polyps can lead a person to develop chronic sinusitis – for instance, getting a viral infection or having a deviated septum –patients who do have nasal polyps, may be more prone to getting chronic sinus infections. This is particularly evident in patients who have polyps that are large and blocking or narrowing the sinus openings, making normal drainage harder and mucus buildup in the sinuses more likely.
At the same time, the opposite relationship between nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis is true as well – that is, sinusitis may actually cause nasal polyps. Medical researchers have theorized that sinusitis and the resulting inflammation, tissue swelling and diminished sinus drainage can, in fact, lead to the formation of nasal polyps. This creates a worsening cycle in which the infections lead to increased polyps and the polyps lead to increased infections.
Along with sinusitis, nasal polyps are associated with other conditions including asthma and allergic rhinitis. So, if you have either of these conditions, you may be more likely to develop polyps in the nose as well. In addition, a family history of nasal polyps is often a risk factor relating to whether you might develop the condition yourself.
Get Treated for Nasal Polyps and Chronic Sinusitis in Atlanta
While nasal polyps may create a host of uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms, sometimes in conjunction with sinusitis, the good news is that there are a number of available treatment options that can help. If you are struggling with nasal polyps and frustrating sinusitis symptoms, the Sinus Center of Atlanta is here for you. Get started today by scheduling an appointment at one of our three practice locations in Georgia (Buckhead, Stockbridge and Fayetteville).
If you’re still not sure whether your sinus problems require medical evaluation, take our simple Sinus Evaluation Quiz to gauge how your sinuses may be impacting your quality of life.