Nasal polyps vs. sinusitis are quite a common question. This is usually because they have similar causes and symptoms, making it difficult to differentiate between the two. However, both can be irritating, cause trouble breathing, and interrupt daily life. To help you, here is a detailed article on the difference between the two.
Polyps are small, non-cancerous growths of tissues inside the nasal passage that do not cause any pain. These occur due to recurring infections, asthma, allergies of any form, and reactions to medications.
Symptoms of polyps include headaches, bleeding nose, stuffiness in the nasal area, pain in the upper teeth, postnasal drip, lowered sense of smell, loss of taste, and snoring.
Nasal polyps are of two types, bilateral ethmoidal and antrochoanal polyps. The former occurs due to the ethmoid sinus through the nasal cavity, while the latter originates in the maxillary sinuses and extends to the nasopharynx. They are distinguished on their severity, adverse effects, size, and location.
The cause of nasal polyps is still under investigation. However, researchers state that those who have nasal polyps have a different immune system response.
Nasal polyps can be treated with medication. These medicines aim to reduce inflammation, eventually reducing polyp size. Sometimes, anti-allergens or antibiotics are prescribed. Doctors can also prescribe nasal spray. If medication fails, then injections can be recommended.
Surgery is the most effective option to get rid of polyps. In case, medication does not work, nasal polyps can be surgically removed.
Sinusitis occurs when the nose and sinus in the head are swollen. It can cause difficulty in breathing and a stuffy nose. It is caused due to an infection.
Symptoms of this condition include inflammation inside the nose, stuffed nose for days, discolored discharge from the nose, postnasal drainage, and pain and swelling in and around the eyes, cheeks, or forehead.
Sinusitis can be either chronic that lasts for months or acute that comes and goes with a cold.
Sinusitis may be caused due to the effects of nasal polyps. Polyps growth may block or affect the sinuses. A broken, damaged, or displaced septum can block the nasal pathway and hinder breathing, causing sinusitis. Medical conditions like immunity-related disorders, cystic fibrosis, HIV, allergies, and infections are other common causes of sinusitis.
For sinusitis, doctors can prescribe medicine to decongest the nasal pathway. Other treatment options include antibiotics, anti-allergens, and nasal washes.
Armed with this information, you know the difference between nasal polyps and sinusitis. Moreover, knowing its symptoms and treatment options can help in early diagnosis and treatment.