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To scratch or not to scratch.
We all have distinct memories of the first time we were really sick. My memory is of chickenpox. A few days in to the onset of the rash my parents had decided to take me out to the local park to watch some holiday fireworks. Asking a kid covered in itchy lesions not to scratch is an exercise in futility. I wanted relief, I wanted a cure, I wanted anything! But you guessed it: I’d have to just wait it out.
We expect these things to just go away as we wait it out. This is the reality and general course of action for most people with nasal polyps symptoms. The problem is that they recur. Today we’ll be looking at the symptoms of nasal polyps and why it’s so crucial to keep them from coming back.
This smells like trouble.
As discussed previously, nasal polyps are benign growths and inflammations which form on the inside of the nose along the mucous membranes and in our sinuses. The most agreed upon figure for how common nasal polyps are is usually 4% of the population. That may sound like a small number but that’s about 6.3 million people in the US alone!
Nasal polyps usually don’t do a lot more than hang out in our nose. However in some cases, they can grow so large that they interfere with breathing! As they continue to manifest over time they can worsen. This is where a little foresight can save you a lot of discomfort down the road.
By seeking help and taking action we can prevent polyps from rearing their ugly heads again. This raises the question: how do we know the little visitor in our nostril is a nasal polyp at all?
Always follow your nose.
The tricky thing about nasal polyps is that the symptoms are so common. The growth itself isn’t painful to touch and to actually see the thing would either require a mirror or a favour from a devoted friend. Only in the most extreme cases does a polyp grow to such a size that it peeks out from under the nostril. By then you definitely know something is amiss.
Symptoms are shared with fairly regular inconveniences like the common cold. Some examples are:
The only positive way to be sure is to have a look. When the polyp has grown significantly though, it’s a whole other ball game.
Look at the size of that thing!
Very large polyps can really interfere with your health. What is usually a relatively harmless and temporary inconvenience can turn into a crippling condition. Large polyps can actually cause deformity. The face can appear enlarged as the small bones in the nose shift due to the growth. Although a rarity the polyps can sometimes press on nerves and affect eyesight!
One account of how a case of nasal polyps can escalate to the point of requiring surgery is given by software blogger Field Commander Wieers. What was just a bad case of congestion turned into a full blown respiratory impairment. Clearly nothing to turn your nose up at. Now that we know how carried away things can get, how do we put a stop to it?!
Cover me, I’m going in!
There are several subtle options at your disposal. The first line of defense is typically nose drops, sprays or tablets. They are designed to reduce inflammation. These drops and tablets are typically steroid in nature which means that they’re a great short term fix but the side effects aren’t worth it in the long run.
As mentioned in the blog above though, sometimes the most drastic measures have to be taken. Surgical operations are available which range from minor to intensive. What can be confusing to the average person however is when to resort to them. This is why consulting with a professional should be your first reaction upon discovering the invaders setting up camp in your airways. It’s best not to leave anything to chance out of apathy. That is unless you want to make waiting out your nasal polyps a habit.