Does your nose drip continuously, making it hard to breathe? Is your sense of smell not as sharp as it used to be? If so, then it’s possible that you have a sinus cyst.
But there is no need to panic. Having a sinus cyst is fairly common. In fact, according to studies, they are present in as many as 10 percent of healthy individuals. Fortunately, most of sinus cysts are benign. For some, they might not feel any symptoms at all, while others may feel facial pain or difficulty in breathing.
Sinus cysts, or more popularly known as nasal polyps, are soft and pearl-colored growths that develop in the lining of the sinuses. They can form in singles or in multiples that are clustered together. They are usually caused by a prolonged inflammation of the nasal passages. Symptoms of allergies and asthma can also lead to polyp formation.
When polyps are small, they don’t usually cause any problems. People are only alerted of their existence when they start to experience the symptoms. Below are some of the signs you can watch out for:
o Shortness of breath
o Difficult to breathe through the nose, leading to mouth breathing
o Loss or reduced sense of smell
o Stuffy and runny nose
o Chronic sinus infection
o Nasal discharge
o Sensation of fullness in the face
Who is at Risk?
If you are suffering from any condition that causes inflammation of the sinuses, then you are at risk of developing sinus cysts. Some of the conditions include chronic sinusitis, cystic fibrosis and allergic fungal sinusitis. People who are sensitive to aspirin or non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are also most like to develop sinus cyst. Age is another factor. Sinus cysts are more likely to show up on people over 40. Children below 16 who exhibit the symptoms of having sinus cyst, should be tested for cystic fibrosis.
Can Sinus Cysts Be Prevented?
To prevent formation of sinus cysts, it is necessary to treat the underlying conditions and manage the symptoms. Here are some guidelines that we can follow:
o For people who suffer from asthma, allergies or chronic sinusitis, avoid indoor and outdoor allergens to reduce nasal congestion.
o Treat bacterial infection by undergoing antibiotic treatment.
o Control allergies through intake of antihistamines.
o Saline nasal irrigation is extremely helpful in relieving nasal congestion and eliminating mucus.
What are the Treatment Options?
The most common treatment for sinus cysts is corticosteroids. It is either injected directly onto the polyp or sprayed in the locality to reduce the cysts temporarily. However, side effects include nose bleeds, headaches or sore throat.
Oral corticosteroids can also be prescribed. It is often taken for a few weeks only due to its severe side effects during long term use such as headaches, weight gain, upset stomach, mood changes and difficulty in sleeping.
If medication fails, surgery is also an option. Polypectomy cuts the polyps away using a suction device. Endoscopic surgery removes the polyps and opens the part of sinus where polyps tend to form. Both surgeries are outpatient procedures.
However, the treatment options mentioned do not offer any guarantee that you will be cyst-free. In fact, sinus cysts often return. This is why it is better to focus on prevention instead.