What are Nasal Polyps (Sinus Infection)?
Nasal polyps, also known as sinus polyps, are lumpy growths that can develop in the nose or deep in the sinuses. They can be grey, yellow or pink in color, and are jelly-like in texture. Nasal polyps can be very small, to the extent that the person will not realize that they are present, or large enough to cause pain, facial swelling and embarrassment. All nasal polyps have a tear-drop shape and generally they will be present on both sides.
Nasal polyps tend to be more common in men, in the middle aged, and in persons who suffer from asthma and other allergies.
It is estimated that 7% of all adults suffer from nasal polyps.
What are the Symptoms of Nasal Polyps?
The symptoms of the nasal polyps will depend on their size, location and how many are present. In most cases, the symptoms are similar to those of colds and flu, but they will never improve. Chronic stuffy and blocked noses are common symptoms of nasal polyps. Other symptoms include a persistent headache, loss of sense of smell and taste, post-nasal drip, facial swelling, mouth breathing and increased snoring.
Who Gets Nasal Polyps?
Anyone can develop nasal polyps, but the condition is more prevalent in middle aged men and in persons with allergies. Other people who are more at risk of nasal polyps are those sensitive to aspirin, children with cystic fibrosis, and persons whose parents had nasal polyps.
What are the Causes of Nasal Polyps?
There are many factors that can trigger the growth of nasal polyps, including the ones mentioned above. In all cases, an irritation and inflammation of the nasal linings and sinuses is present – this is a required step for nasal polyps formation. This is because as a result of inflammation, fluid accumulates in the cells, and eventually gravity pulls these down to result in the characteristic teardrop shape.
How are Nasal Polyps Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of nasal polyps includes a clinical examination by a doctor, a history of symptoms and sometimes specialized tests including CT scans, nasal endoscopies, and skin prick allergy testing.
How are Nasal Polyps Treated?
Medical treatment of nasal polyps is either through steroid therapy, surgery or both. Steroids can shrink the polyps and they can be administered via sprays, nose drops, direct injection or tablets. Steroids can produce improvement in about a week; however, the shrinkage only lasts as long as the steroids are applied. Once treatment is stopped, the nasal polyps quickly start growing again, often to larger sizes than their initial size. Steroid therapy is associated with a number of side effects, including nasal infections, persistent migraines, nosebleeds, sore throats and weight gain.
The other option is surgery, which may be of two types: polypectomy and endoscopic sinus surgery. In polypectomy the surgeon gets to the polyps via the nostril, while in endoscopic sinus surgery an incision is made in the face and the surgeon gets to the polyps through these cuts. Unfortunately, even surgery is not a permanent option, as nasal polyps re-growth occurs in 70% of the patients.
In addition, surgery is associated with a number of risks. Due to the location of the nasal cavity, there is the danger of damaging the eyes or the nerves responsible for vision. There is also the danger of brain fluid leaking, causing meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord). (More about Dangers of Nasal Polyps Surgery)
Is There A Natural Permanent Treatment for Nasal Polyps?
Steroids and surgery are only a short-term solution, because they just temporary shrink/remove the growth. They do not tackle the underlying cause, i.e. the irritation and inflammation of the nasal linings. To ensure a permanent cure for nasal polyps, you need to remove whatever is causing the irritation and ensure that the body is not an inflammatory state. You need to manage any allergies you may have, avoid irritants in food and cosmetics and humidify your home (if you live in dry areas). Next, you need to put your body in a permanent anti-inflammatory state (this will also help you to stay away from other diseases and chronic conditions). You do this thorough your diet and lifestyle. You should avoid foods which cause the body to produce pro-inflammatory molecules. Therefore, avoid sources of saturated fat (such as processed meats, pastries, chocolate, cakes, and full-fat dairy products), and make sure you do not consume too much omega 6 fatty acids. On the other hand, you have to increase your intake of foods which cause the body to produce anti-inflammatory substances. Therefore, you have to increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA (e.g. oily fish or fish oils), and anti-oxidants (have at least five portions of fruits and vegetables per day, especially those high in quercetin). You should also incorporate some breathing exercises that can help to reduce inflammation in the nasal passage.
Now, back to shrinking the nasal polyps in the first place – you do not need to resort to surgery or steroids. Rather, you can shrink down the polyps permanently, safely and rapidly by using herbal extracts and special essential oils. Some need to be applied directly while others need to be heated and their vapor inhaled. You can speed up this process by adding some vitamin and mineral supplements to your diet, such as Vitamin C and A.