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Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps are sac-like growths of inflamed tissue lining the nose (nasal mucosa) or sinuses.

Causes

Nasal polyps typically start near the ethmoid sinuses (located at the top of the inside of the nose) and grow into the open areas. Large polyps can block the sinuses or nasal airway.

People with the following conditions are more likely to also have nasal polyps:

  • Aspirin sensitivity (wheezing)
  • Asthma
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)

Symptoms

People with nasal polyps often complain about having a cold that has lasted for months or years.

Symptoms include:

  • Mouth breathing
  • Nose feeling blocked (nasal obstruction)
  • Reduced or complete loss of sense of smell (not common with sinus infection)
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches or pain are NOT common unless there is also a sinus infection.

Treatment

Medications help relieve symptoms but rarely get rid of nasal polyps.

Nasal steroid sprays may help with nasal blockage or runny nose, but symptoms return if treatment is stopped. There are many brands available. They are safe for adults and children.

Corticosteroid pills or liquid may also improve symptoms.
Antibiotics should only be taken if there is a bacterial sinus infection.
Some people may need surgery, such as functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS).

Additional Information

Learn more about nasal polyps.