Deep breathing is essential for taking in life-sustaining oxygen. It is also necessary for eliminating carbon dioxide. Your body functions less efficiently if these two processes are hindered in any way. Some serious conditions can cause this and require immediate and extensive medical care. However, among the less serious causes are nasal polyps. These are expertly diagnosed and treated by Dr. Lenkowski of Roanoke Valley ENT & Allergy to help you breathe deeply again.

What Are Nasal Polyps?person with sinus issues

Behind your nose is a large space filled with air. This space connects with other air-filled spaces known as sinuses. These sinuses are inside the bones of your face. Keeping these spaces clear of obstructions is vital to healthy breathing. Nasal polyps are benign growths inside your nose or sinuses that block the proper exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen critical to a healthy life.

Nasal polyps are teardrop-shaped growths made up of inflamed tissue. They tend to form clusters that can hinder breathing and even cause your nose to widen, and the distance between your eyes to increase.

Researchers are still studying the exact cause of nasal polyps, but we know they are more common in people with:

  • Asthma
  • Allergy to aspirin
  • Sensitivity or allergy to ibuprofen or similar non-steroidal inflammatory medications
  • Frequent or long-standing sinus infections
  • Hay fever
  • Cystic fibrosis

When do nasal polyps need to be treated?

You need to seek treatment if you notice difficulty breathing through your nose. But there are other symptoms associated with nasal polyps that may lead you to visit your ENT doctor for an evaluation. Seek treatment if one more of these last longer than several days:

  • Your nose will not stop running
  • Your nose feels stuffy or congested
  • Your sense of smell has diminished
  • You find yourself breathing through your mouth
  • You develop sleep apnea
  • You have begun to snore
  • You experience postnasal drip

Minor and temporary conditions may cause these symptoms and no treatment will be required.  But nasal polyps will need to be evaluated and treated by your ENT doctor.

How can an ENT help with treatment?

ENT doctors are experts in diagnosing and treating nasal polyps. Their first step is a thorough examination to diagnose your problem and rule out any other causes of your symptoms. Since every person is different, you might need more than one diagnostic test. These include testing for allergies, CT scan, MRI, biopsy, and nasal endoscopy. Accurate diagnosis is critical to successful treatment. Your ENT will request any test necessary.

Treatment will depend on factors such as the seriousness of your symptoms, your age, and your overall general health. Treatment may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications such as a nasal or oral steroid. These include Flonase, prednisone, and others.
  • Surgery. Your ENT may recommend surgery as the best possible treatment to eliminate the polyps. This is often performed as an outpatient procedure.

Following treatment, Dr. Lenkowski will discuss various strategies to help prevent your nasal polyps’ recurrence so that you will always take the deep breath you need for optimal health and wellness.

If you’re ready to take control of your breathing, contact Roanoke Valley ENT & Allergy for an appointment. We can’t wait to help you breathe better, live better, and feel better!