Nasal polyps refer to small growths of tissue inside your nasal passages. While usually not cancerous (benign), polyps can gradually grow and lead to problems with smell, congestion, and recurring sinusitis. These symptoms may occur when polyps grow to full size, which is about the same size as a grape.
Medications are the first line of treatment for nasal polyps to help prevent them from growing larger. However, surgery is the only method that actually removes them.
Contrary to information found online, there’s nosafe or proven way to remove nasal polyps on your own at home.
Learn what nasal polyp removal entails, and what you can expect.
The only way to physically remove nasal polyps is through an in-office procedure. However, medications are recommended as a first-line treatment for small growths, to help prevent them from getting larger.
Talk with a doctor about which option may be right for you.
Medications for nasal polyp removal
While medications can’t physically get rid of nasal polyps, they are used to treat these benign growths. Depending on the type of medication you take, your polyps may shrink or stop growing.
A medical professional may recommend you try medications, such as steroid sprays and saline irrigation, for at least
Medications used for nasal polyp treatment include:
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays. Often considered the most effective treatment for nasal polyps, these are safe for long-term use. They can also help shrink polyps and reduce inflammation in the nasal passages.
- Oral steroids. For severe symptoms, your doctor may prescribe oral steroids for a short period of time only. These also help reduce inflammation and shrink nasal growths, but long-term use can lead to side effects.
Your healthcare professional may also recommend other medications to help alleviate nasal polyp symptoms, such as:
- Montelukast (Singulair). Prescribed for people with allergic asthma and hay fever, this leukotriene modifier may also help decrease symptoms of nasal polyps.
- Saline nasal irrigation. Nasal saline irrigation flushes out the nasal and sinus cavities to manage polyps. Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe a nasal irrigation with topical steroids in them, which is called budesonide nasal irrigation.
- Antibiotics. If your nasal polyps cause a sinus infection, you may need to take oral antibiotics.
- Antihistamines. These may help alleviate allergy symptoms you have along with nasal polyps.
If medications aren’t enough to manage your symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery for nasal polyp removal. This type of surgery is also called a nasal polypectomy.
You can expect the following during surgery:
- Prior to your procedure, you may be asked to fast for a certain amount of time before you arrive.
- During the procedure, your doctor will likely remove your nasal polyps with tools called graspers or a microdebrider. Smaller polyps may be removed via a suction device. Your surgeon may also use a small camera in your nasal passages to help guide the process for better accuracy. This type of surgery doesn’t require any incisions and is all done through the nostrils.
- Sometimes, a specimen of the tissue will be sent to pathology. A stent that gradually releases steroids may also be put in place to help with healing.
- You will spend some time in post-surgery recovery, where medical staff will monitor your condition.
- Depending on your recovery progress, you’ll likely be able to go home later that day.
Do not try to remove nasal polyps yourself
While nasal polyp surgery doesn’t require incisions, this is still a major procedure that should be done by a doctor in a hospital setting only.
You should nevertry to remove nasal polyps at home. Not only may such extraction attempts fail, but you may also cause side effects such as bleeding and infection.
In addition, other nasal masses could be confused for a polyp, so it’s critical to see a medical professional for diagnosis.
You may experience mild pain and bleeding in your nose following nasal polyp surgery. These symptoms should subside within a week, but you may see some blood when you blow your nose for up to a month.
Typically, you will continue to do nasal saline irrigations, and may take steroids during this time. You will see your doctor for a follow-up appointment to make sure your recovery is going smoothly.
What you might notice short-term
After recovery from nasal polyp surgery, you may notice the following improvements fairly quickly:
- decreased post-nasal drip
- a restored sense of smell
- reduced nasal and sinus congestion
- no more sinus pressure or infections
What to expect long-term
Still, despite surgical removal, nasal polyps will likely return. While the exact timeline isn’t certain, research suggests that recurrence may be expected within a decade. Symptoms, though, will often remain improved.
If you experience new symptoms of nasal polyps, discuss next steps with your doctor. This may include repeat surgery or medications, depending on how large the polyps are.
Nasal corticosteroids and nasal saline irrigations are still recommended long-term to help stop polyps from coming back — even after surgery.
While you can’t prevent nasal polyps from occurring, medications may help reduce their growth. In some cases, nasal steroid treatment may help shrink polyps to help prevent the need for surgery or a repeated operation.
Treating underlying conditions, such as allergies and aspirin sensitivity, may also be important.
During your treatment plan, take note of any symptoms, and whether they have gotten better or worsened during medication use.
If you experience frequent nasal symptoms such as congestion or loss of smell, see a medical professional for an evaluation. Even if you’ve already had nasal polyp surgery, remember that these growths may come back.
Your healthcare professional will diagnose nasal polyps and make treatment recommendations based on the following:
- a history of your symptoms
- a physical exam, including your nasal passages
- imaging tests
- your overall health history, including previous medications you’ve used
If you’ve been diagnosed with nasal polyps, removal may only be necessary if the growths are large enough to cause symptoms that interfere with your quality of life.
Medications can help nasal polyps from getting bigger, but removal is the only way to fix them long-term.
There’s no safe or effective way to remove nasal polyps on your own at home. If you’re experiencing new or worsening symptoms, see a medical professional to discuss the safest treatment methods available for you.