Nasal Polyp Treatments: How to Shrink and Remove Them

Photo Courtesy: Credit: Cecilie_Arcurs | iStock by Getty Images

Does your nose feel stuffy and congested for long periods and you have no clue why? Your symptoms may be due to nasal polyps. Keep reading to find out what they are and which nasal polyp treatments can help ease symptoms and shrink away these bothersome growths.

What Are Nasal Polyps?

These teardrop- or grape-shaped growths form on the inside lining of your nose or sinuses. They tend to feel soft and swollen but are usually painless.

Why these growths occur in some people more than others isn’t known. But people with chronic inflammation due to the following health conditions may be at higher risk for nasal polyps:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Aspirin sensitivity
  • Cystic Fibrosis 
  • Hay fever 
  • Chronic sinusitis (sinus infections)

What Are the  Symptoms of Nasal Polyps?

You may not have any symptoms if your nasal polyps are small. Polyp growths that block your nasal passages or occur alongside a sinus infection can cause symptoms such as:

  • Blocked or stuffy nose
  • Dulled or lost sense of smell and taste
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Headaches or facial pressure or pain, including in or around your upper teeth
  • Post-nasal drip, which is when mucus runs down the back of your nose into your throat
  • Snoring

Which Home Remedies Can Ease Nasal Polyp Symptoms?

You can try the following at-home treatments to help promote mucus flow and ease your symptoms:

  • Flush your nose with a saline (saltwater) spray that can be bought over the counter. 
  • Irrigate your nose and sinuses with a nasal irrigation device such as a neti pot. This involves mixing salt as directed on the device label with distilled, sterile, filtered, purified or boiled (and then cooled) water to flush out irritants.
  • Inhale steam from a humidifier or while you take a long bath or shower.

Which Nasal Polyp Treatments Can Your Doctor Prescribe? 

If needed, your doctor can prescribe treatments to help shrink or eliminate your nasal polyps and quell symptoms. Which one they recommend will depend on the amount and size of your polyps, as well as which symptoms you have and how severe they are. 

These may include:

Steroids for Nasal Polyps

These include nasal sprays or drops. Examples include medicines such as:

  • Fluticasone (Flonase, Veramyst)
  • Budesonide (Rhinocort)
  • Mometasone (Nasonex)

Oral steroids, such as prednisone, may also be prescribed for short-term use. A small implant (Sinuva) that’s coated with the steroid mometasone can also be placed in your sinuses. This implant (also called a stent) may be an option if your nasal polyps return after surgery. After slowly releasing medicine over the course of a few weeks, the implant dissolves.

Biologics for Nasal Polyps

Biologic medicines come from living sources such as humans, animals and plants. They target parts of your immune system that cause inflammation. 

These are usually injected under your skin. Examples include duplimab (Dupixent) and omalizumab (Xolair).

Other Nasal Polyp Treatments

Medicines to treat the health condition that may be causing your nasal polyps may also help clear these growths. 

Surgery for Nasal Polyps

Surgery may be needed to remove large or multiple nasal polyps, as well as those that keep coming back. In most cases, you’ll go home the same day. 

Your surgery may involve:

  • Debriding (removing tissue) and suctioning matter that comes loose with a device called a microdebrider. This can be performed in your doctor’s office and may be an option for larger polyps situated toward the front of your nose.
  • Nasal polypectomy at your doctor’s office, which entails using small graspers to remove larger polyps that grow toward the front of your nose.
  • Nasal polypectomy in the operating room under anesthesia for tiny or multiple growths that lie deeper in your nasal passageways.

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