Frequently bouts of nasal congestion might be caused by nasal polyps, which are benign lesions that hang down like teardrops from the nasal passage. This is a common condition and is known to affect about 4 percent of the population in the country. However, unlike polyps found in other organs, nasal polyps are neither cancerous or tumors. They are simply a result of inflammation in the sinus. The causes of nasal polyps can range from a recurring sinus infection or allergic rhinitis to hay fever and cystic fibrosis, among many others.
Let’s explore the common triggers of nasal polyps:
- Chronic sinus infections: One of the most common causes of nasal polyps is a recurring or chronic sinus infection. In a sinus infection, the membranes in the lining of the nose tend to get inflamed, which impedes the drainage of mucus from the nose. This can either be short-term or long-term, meaning that the sinus attack can last for more than 12 weeks. This can trigger growth in the tissues of the sinus cavity.
- Hay fever: Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, can make a person highly susceptible to the development of nasal polyps. When a harmless foreign body like pollen enters the nasal passage, it causes irritation and a host of other symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, and cough.
- Asthma: This inflammatory disease of the airways is also one of the causes of nasal polyps. The symptoms of asthma include inflammation of the airways and tightening of the muscles, which makes breathing difficult. This inflammation can occur in the nasal passages, causing the formation of teardrop-like sacs that are called nasal polyps.
- An allergic reaction to NSAIDs: Many people are sensitive to Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. The long-term use of these anti-inflammatory drugs can trigger side effects, especially for those who are allergic to such drugs, and they can lead to the formation of nasal polyps in some cases.
- Churg-Strauss syndrome: This is a rare medical condition that damages the blood vessels in the body. In this syndrome, the blood vessels get inflamed and are known to mainly affect the nose, lungs, sinuses, and heart. The symptoms of this condition include asthma, hay fever, inflamed sinusitis, and nasal polyps, and these conditions can last for years.
- Cystic fibrosis: Another trigger of nasal polyps is a genetic condition known as cystic fibrosis that causes several respiratory problems. This includes stuffy sinuses, which can result in the formation of nasal polyps.
Apart from the above-mentioned causes of nasal polyps, people with genetic issues or family history can develop nasal polyps. A medical practitioner will be able to spot nasal polyps on examination and will suggest appropriate treatment for a speedy recovery.