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Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps refer to non cancerous lesions that develop in the mucous lining of the nose or in the sinus cavities. Such polyps may manifest singularly or in a group and block the nasal passage. Typically nasal polyps are soft and jelly-like. This swollen mucus-covered tissue makes breathing and smelling difficult. Usually nasal polyps form as a result of chronic sinusitis, cystic fibrosis, allergic rhinitis or respiratory complaints such as asthma and hay fever. Nasal obstruction arising from a deviated nasal septum and inflammation of the nasal lining.


Nasal polyps are usually noticed in persons suffering from allergic rhinitis or chronic sinus infections. Patients suffering from nasal polyps may experience reduced sense of smell. Patients suffering from nasal polyps are likely to suffer chronic sinusitis, dull headache and runny and stuffy nose. Breathing becomes difficult and sleep apnea may be noticed in persons suffering from nasal polyps. CT scan of the nose aids in diagnosing nasal polyps, their exact size and location. Children with multiple nasal polyps are tested for cystic fibrosis with sweat test.


Nasal polyps are surgically removed with an endoscope. This surgery is called polypectomy. Removal can be done through the nose or sinuses. But they may recur after several years of surgery. Corticosteroids in the form of nasal sprays and drops help in reducing the size of nasal polyps. Besides they have considerably fewer side effects when compared with oral steroid medication. Anti-allergic medication can help control allergic infections.

Polyp

A polyp is an abnormal stalk-like growth on mucus membrane. Typical areas where polyps are noticed are nose, cervix, small intestine, gallbladder, stomach, colon and bladder.


An endometrial polyp is found within the uterine cavity and is usually benign. Women suffering this type of polyps experience irregular menstrual bleeding, menorrhagia and pain. Endometrial polyps can be diagnosed with a hysteroscopy.

Colorectal polyps might lead to symptoms such as blood or mucus in stool, abdominal pain and diarrhea. They are diagnosed with a colonoscopy or barium meal X-rays.

Nasal polyps are usually treated with steroids to curtail their growth. Sometimes, they are surgically removed.

Colorectal polyps are nearly always removed and tested for cancer.

Cervical polyps are most often due to cervical inflammation. They might throw up symptoms such as vaginal bleeding in post-menopausal women, bleeding after sex or menorrhagia.

Gallbladder polyps most often show up during an abdominal ultrasound as they usually do not exhibit any symptoms.


Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy allows the doctor to look into the interior lining of the large intestine. Through this procedure, the doctor is able to detect inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, polyps, tumors and ulcers. Early signs of cancer in the colon and the rectum can also be detected through colonoscopy. This procedure is also used to study unexplained changes in bowel habits, to evaluate symptoms of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and sudden weight loss. The colonoscope is a thin flexible instrument whose length ranges from 48 inches to 72 inches. A small video camera is attached to the colonoscope so that photographic, electronic or videotaped images of the large intestine can be taken. Colonoscope is used to view the entire colon as well as a small portion of the lower small intestine.

The colon should be completely empty for colonoscopy to be thorough and safe. The liquid diet should be clear of any food colorings. It should be fat free. The colonoscope is gradually inserted into the rectum and slowly guided into the colon. The scope transmits an image of the inside of the colon onto a video screen so that the doctor can carefully examine the lining of the colon. The scope blows air into the colon and inflates it so that the doctor has a better view of the colon. During the procedure, the doctor is able to remove abnormal growths like polyp in the colon.

  • Colonoscopy aids the doctor to remove most polyps without abdominal surgery.
  • Colonoscopy is more accurate than a routine x ray to detect polyps, tumors, ulcers and cancers at early stage.
  • Colonoscopy is done most often to investigate and find the cause of blood in the stool, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
  • Certain patients with previous history of polyps or colon cancer, patients with family history of particular malignancies, colon problems are advised to have periodic Colonoscopy because they are at greater risk of polyps or colon cancer.

Virtual colonoscopy: Here the technique that is adopted uses a CAT scan to construct virtual images of the colon. These images are similar to the views of the colon obtained by direct observation through colonoscopy. However, virtual colonoscopy cannot find small polyps which are less than 5 mm in size. These can be seen by the traditional colonoscopy. Virtual colonoscopy is not as accurate as colonoscopy in finding cancers or pre-malignant lesions that are not protruding. Virtual colonoscopy also cannot remove polyps.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: March 21, 2019