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The common characteristics of nasal polyps are nasal congestion or a runny nose that lasts a long time. In addition, disturbances in the sense of taste or smell, pain, and a heavy head are also signs of nasal polyps
Nasal polyps are soft lumps that grow on the nasal mucosal tissue and grow hanging in a grape-like shape. Nasal polyps form when the mucous membranes of the nose (mucous membrane) of the respiratory tract and sinuses become inflamed. The presence of nasal polyps cannot be underestimated because they can interfere with breathing.
Causes of Nasal Polyps
Nasal polyps can happen to anyone, but adults over 40 are more at risk. In addition, nasal polyps are also more common in men than women.
The cause of nasal polyps is not known with certainty. However, there are several diseases that can trigger the appearance of nasal polyps, such as:
- cystic fibrosis
- Chronic sinusitis
- Disorders of the nasal blood vessels
- Churg-Strauss Syndrome
- Allergy to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Besides being triggered by the disease, heredity also contributes to the appearance of nasal polyps. This is associated with the mucous tissue in the nose which is more sensitive when experiencing inflammation, so that polyps become more prone to popping up.
Characteristics of Nasal Polyps
When they first appear, nasal polyps are still small, so they often don't cause symptoms. Symptoms are generally only felt when the size of the polyp has enlarged.
However, there are several things that can be used as signs or characteristics of nasal polyps, namely:
1. Stuffy nose
Nasal congestion is the most common symptom of nasal polyps. Polyps that grow will block the airways, causing respiratory problems. Stuffy nose symptoms that appear due to nasal polyps can last a long time, which is more than 12 weeks.
2. Runny nose and excessive mucus production
Under normal conditions, the nose can produce about 1 liter of mucus every day. This mucus (mucus) serves to moisten the respiratory tract and hold foreign objects, bacteria, or viruses that cause infection.
Normally, the presence of mucus is not felt because it will mix with saliva and be swallowed.The presence of polyps in the nose makes mucus production increase and become thicker. This makes the nose runny, and when the mucus is swallowed with saliva, the throat feels like mucus (postnasal drip).
The next characteristic of nasal polyps is sneezing. Sneezing occurs as a result of inflammation of the lining of the nose.
4. Decreased sense of smell
The decreased ability of the sense of smell in patients with nasal polyps is caused by polyps blocking the nasal cavity, so that the sensory nerves in the nose have difficulty receiving stimuli from the inhaled air.
5. The sense of taste is reduced in sharpness
The sense of taste is related to the sense of smell. If the sharpness of smell decreases, the sharpness of the sense of taste will also decrease.
Nasal polyps that grow will interfere with the flow of air in the airways. This causes the soft palate and uvula to vibrate and cause snoring.
The narrower the airway, the louder the snoring will be. This condition over time can cause a sleep disorder called sleep apnea.
7. Headache or face
Another characteristic of the appearance of nasal polyps is pain around the facial area which can be accompanied by headaches. This condition occurs when polyps block the sinus cavities, causing infection or inflammation of the sinuses.
Some of the symptoms of nasal polyps at first glance are similar to flu symptoms. The difference is that the flu can go away in a few days, whereas nasal polyps tend to last a long time and won't get better if left untreated.
Therefore, you are advised to see a doctor if you experience symptoms or feel the characteristics of nasal polyps. The doctor will perform an examination and may prescribe medications if needed, such as nasal or oral corticosteroid drops, allergy medications, and antibiotics.
If medication does not produce the expected results, the doctor may recommend a surgical procedure to remove the polyp.
Nasal polyps which are classified as benign tumors are generally harmless. However, if after 10 weeks there is no improvement in the symptoms or characteristics of nasal polyps, you need to consult an ENT specialist.