Who Treats Nasal Polyps?

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Nasal polyps are soft growths that appear inside your nose. They are noncancerous but can be difficult to treat. Medications and surgery are the most common treatment options. However, nasal polyps can grow back. Finding the right doctor to help you is important.

Physician with a patient

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Primary Care Physician  

The first doctor you will probably see is your primary care physician. You should be able to make a regular appointment to see them to discuss your symptoms. A primary care physician can diagnose nasal polyps and recommend referrals. 

What to Expect During Your Visit 

During the appointment, your primary care doctor will collect information about your health to determine the cause of your condition and how to treat it. 

The primary care doctor will:

  • Ask about your medical history 
  • Gather information about your symptoms
  • Do a physical exam
  • Look at the inside of your nose 
  • Answer your questions 

Your doctor may decide to order additional tests or refer you to a specialist who can help you better. In some cases, your doctor may be able to diagnose and treat nasal polyps without sending you to another specialist. 

Otolaryngologist

Another name for an otolaryngologist is an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician. Otolaryngologists specialize in treating conditions that affect the nose, such as nasal polyps. They receive additional training for years to work as a specialist. 

Your medical insurance may require a referral from your primary care doctor before you can see a specialist such as an otolaryngologist.

Some insurance companies will not cover the cost of your appointments without a referral. Talk to your doctor and insurance company to find out if this is a necessary requirement. 

What to Expect During Your Visit 

During a visit, an ear, nose, and throat physician will gather some of the same information, such as your medical history and symptoms, that your primary care doctor asked.

An otolaryngologist may also: 

  • Do a thorough exam of your nose, throat, and ears 
  • Use a nasal endoscope (small tube with a camera) to do a nasal endoscopy 
  • Gather a small sample of your nasal tissues for a biopsy 
  • Order imaging, such as MRI or CT scans
  • Order blood tests 
  • Check for cystic fibrosis with a sweat test 

Your otolaryngologist will use the information above to diagnose nasal polyps or determine you have another medical condition. Next, they will work with you to create a treatment plan. 

Treatment usually includes:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications 
  • Endoscopic sinus surgery to remove the nasal polyps 

An otolaryngologist has the necessary training to do an endoscopic sinus surgery, so you may not need to see another surgeon.

Allergist  

Your primary care doctor may recommend that you seen an allergist because sometimes allergies can cause nasal polyps. They specialize in treating allergies and immune system problems.

Another name for an allergist is an immunologist.

Your medical insurance may need a referral from your primary care doctor before you can see an allergist. Some insurance companies require referrals prior to allowing a patient to see a specialist. 

What to Expect During Your Visit 

During an appointment, an allergist will try to determine if you are allergic to any substances that may be causing your nasal polyps. They can also answer your questions and recommend treatment plans. They will begin the visit by checking your medical history and symptoms.

An allergist may also order:

  • Blood tests
  • Skin tests
  • Patch tests
  • Nasal smears
  • Lung function tests 

Treatment recommendations may include:

  • Avoiding the allergy triggers
  • Elimination diets
  • Medications 
  • Immunotherapy

An allergist can help figure out what is causing nasal polyps and suggest different ways to treat them.  

A Word From Verywell

Finding a doctor who understands your medical condition is important for management and recovery. Nasal polyps can return after treatment, so it is essential to work with a doctor who is willing to listen and help on a long-term basis. 

If your primary care doctor does not know enough about nasal polyps to help you, then ask for a referral. You may need to see an otolaryngologist and an allergist to confirm your diagnosis and get treatment. 

Consider bringing a friend or loved one with you when you visit a doctor. They can help you by taking notes and asking questions, so you have support that reduces stress.

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Article Sources
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  1. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Nasal polyps.

  2. American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation. What’s an ENT?

  3. American Board of Allergy and Immunology. Allergy and immunology.