Coping With Nasal Polyps

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Nasal polyps are noncancerous growths inside the nose that can affect your breathing or sense of smell and may cause many other problems. It can be a challenging condition to treat because polyps can return after using medications and having surgery. However, there are coping and self-care strategies that can help you manage nasal polyps.

A woman squeezing the bridge of her nose

Vladimir Godnik / Getty Images

Emotional 

Receiving a diagnosis of nasal polyps can bring up different emotions. You may feel relief after learning what is causing your symptoms. However, you may also have other feelings that are more negative. It is normal to experience a wide range of emotions after a medical diagnosis. 

You may feel:

  • Relieved
  • Sad
  • Worried 
  • Angry
  • Ashamed
  • Scared

Physical 

Although treatment for nasal polyps usually involves medication and surgery, there are other things you can do to manage the condition. You should talk to a healthcare provider about any concerns you may have and ask for recommendations about lifestyle changes you can make.

Remove Allergens 

You may be able to prevent new nasal polyps or control them by eliminating allergens in your environment and diet. Talk to your healthcare provider about having allergy tests and evaluate your lifestyle to make changes.

You may be allergic to: 

  • Fungi 
  • Aspirin 
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen and naproxen

Sometimes allergens in the environment can irritate your nose and sinuses, which can worsen your condition. Pay attention to how you feel around certain allergens and avoid them if possible.

Avoid the following irritants:

  • Tobacco smoke 
  • Chemical fumes
  • Dust
  • Debris 

Use a Nasal Rinse  

You can use a nasal rinse—such as a saltwater or saline spray—in your nose. A rinse may remove allergens and irritants from your nasal passages while moistening them. It may also help mucus flow easier and stop inflammation.

Nasal rinses are available over-the-counter in:

  • Washes
  • Sprays
  • Neti pots
  • Squeeze bottles 

It is important to use distilled and sterile water in any nasal rinse. You will need to clean any device you use to wash the nasal passages after each use. 

Reduce Alcohol Use 

Research reveals that alcohol consumption can make nasal polyps and other sinus problems worse.

Alcohol may cause congestion and sinus pressure.

You may want to reduce or eliminate alcohol from your diet to see if your condition improves.

Use a Humidifier 

A humidifier adds moisture to the air and your sinuses. Using a humidifier in your home may help you:

  • Breathe easier
  • Help mucus drain from your sinuses
  • Lower the risk of sinus blockages
  • Reduce inflammation

Make sure you clean the humidifier regularly and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Try Breathing Exercises 

Nasal polyps can make it more difficult to breathe through your nose. Research shows that a yoga breathing exercise called Bhramari pranayama may help.

Bhramari pranayama, known as bumblebee breath, is a calming exercise that can open up the sinuses. To do it, inhale through your nose and as you exhale, make a loud humming sound like a bee.

Get Enough Probiotics 

Scientists found that your microbiome or the microorganisms that live inside of you can affect your sinus health. In addition to taking probiotic supplements, you can eat probiotic-rich foods like:

  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Kombucha

Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements or making any drastic changes to your diet. Some vitamins and supplements can interfere with medications.

Social 

One important aspect of coping with a diagnosis is reaching out to others for help. The emotional support from friends, family, and others can have a large impact on how you handle things. You want to discuss your condition with people who are close to you and who you can trust. 

Ask your healthcare provider if there are local support groups for people with nasal polyps in your area. You may also be able to find support groups online and on social media.

Keep your friends and family informed about your condition and treatment plans. If you decide to have surgery for nasal polyps, you may need their support before, during, and after the operation. 

Practical 

Finding the right health team to help you manage and treat nasal polyps is important. Although you may start the diagnosis process by seeing your primary care physician, eventually you may need to see specialists like an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor.

You may also need to see an allergy specialist to determine if allergies are causing the nasal polyps.

It is crucial to find specialists who understand your condition and know how to treat it. You should lways feel comfortable to get a second opinion or talk to a different healthcare provider. 

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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