If you’ve had a sinus infection this year, you’re not alone. Over 31 million people are diagnosed with a sinus infection each year, and chances are good that if you have nasal polyps, you’ve probably had one or more bouts with sinusitis.
If you’re constantly dealing with congestion or keep getting sinus infections, nasal polyps may be the culprit. As a nasal and sinus specialist, Dr. Conrad McCutcheon is an expert when it comes to diagnosing and treating nasal polyps.
In this article, we cover the link between frequent sinus infections and nasal polyps and, most importantly, what we can do to help you breathe better.
What are nasal polyps?
Nasal polyps are small, noncancerous growths that hang like clusters of grapes inside your sinuses or nasal passages. They are associated with chronic allergies, asthma, and some immune disorders. You might not even realize you have nasal polyps, but large polyps can increase your risk of chronic sinus infections.
Sinus infections and polyps
Chronic sinusitis is a sinus infection that lasts longer than 12 weeks. Common symptoms of chronic sinusitis with nasal polyps include:
- Runny nose
- Facial pressure (near your sinuses)
- Facial pain, including toothaches on your upper jaw
- Increased snoring
- Loss of smell
- Postnasal drip
Nasal polyps result from inflammation in your mucous membranes and nasal passages, and most polyps form in the sinuses near your eyes, cheeks, and nose. In addition to contributing to chronic infections, nasal polyps can also exacerbate asthma.
When sinus infections require medical intervention
The symptoms of a sinus infection can mirror the symptoms of a common cold or the flu. For this reason, it’s not uncommon for people to put off going to the doctor. However, if your symptoms don’t improve within 10 days — or if you keep getting sinus infection after sinus infection — it may be a sign that you have nasal polyps.
There’s no way for you to know if you have polyps without an exam by a sinus specialist. Dr. McCutcheon can check for polyps in the office with nasal endoscopy and the MiniCAT 2020™, a special imaging tool that provides information about your sinus cavity.
After Dr. McCutcheon performs a detailed examination inside your nose and sinuses and reviews your health history, he can lay out the appropriate treatment plan.
Treating nasal polyps and sinusitis
Treatments for nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis vary from conservative to surgical. Conservative treatment options for chronic sinusitis include decongestants, anti-inflammatory medications, steroids, antibiotics, and saline nasal spray.
If medications and antibiotics aren’t enough to prevent future sinus infections, Dr. McCutcheon may suggest polyp removal and other indicated procedures such as septoplasty, turbinate surgery and balloon sinuplasty to gently and safely restructure and widen your nasal and sinus passageways.
Are you tired of dealing with frequent sinus infections?
Regardless of the cause, frequent sinus infections can be debilitating, but you have a variety of options available at Memorial Village ENT to help you breathe easier. For more information about nasal polyps or chronic sinus infections, call our Houston, Texas, office at 281-822-3777. You can also request an appointment online.