Nasal polyps are soft, sac-like growths on the lining of the nose or sinuses.
Nasal polyps can grow anywhere on lining of the nose or the sinuses. They often grow where the sinuses open into the nasal cavity. Small polyps may not cause any problems. Large polyps can block your sinuses or nasal airway.
Nasal polyps are not cancer. They seem to grow due to long-term swelling and irritation in the nose from allergies, asthma, or infection.
No one knows exactly why some people get nasal polyps. If you have any of the following conditions, you may be more likely to get nasal polyps:
Chronic sinus infections
If you have small polyps, you may not have any symptoms. If polyps block nasal passages, a
- Runny nose
Stuffed up nose
- Feeling like your
nose is blocked
- Loss of smell
- Loss of taste
- Headache and pain if you also have a sinus infection
With polyps, you may feel like you always have a head cold.
Exams and Tests
Your doctor will look in your nose. Polyps look like a grayish grape-shaped growth in the nasal cavity.
Your doctor may do a
Medicines help relieve symptoms, but rarely get rid of nasal polyps.
- Nasal steroid sprays shrink polyps. They help clear blocked nasal passages and runny nose. Symptoms return if treatment is stopped.
- Corticosteroid pills or liquid may reduce swelling and other symptoms.
- Allergy medicines can help prevent polyps from growing back.
- Antibiotics can treat a sinus infection caused by bacteria. They can’t treat polyps or sinus infections caused by a virus.
If medicines don’t work, or you have very large polyps, you may need surgery to remove them.
- Endoscopic sinus surgery is often used to treat polyps. With this procedure, your doctor uses a thin, lighted tube with instruments at the end. The tube is inserted into your nasal passages and the doctor removes the polyps.
- Usually you can go home the same day.
- Sometimes polyps come back, even after surgery.
- Removing polyps with surgery usually makes it easier to breathe through your nose.
- Over time, however, nasal polyps often return.
- Loss of smell or taste does not always improve following treatment with medicine or surgery.
- Polyps coming back after treatment
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you often find it hard to breathe through your nose.
- You can’t prevent nasal polyps. However, nasal sprays, antihistamines, and allergy shots may help prevent polyps that block your airway.
- Treating sinus infections right away also may help.