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This is a comprehensive reference guide to more than 100 health and medical conditions. In addition to general medical information, each report features practical information ranging from making informed health decisions to “Living with” a particular medical condition. Each report has been physician-reviewed to ensure medical accuracy and timeliness.
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Pronounced: NAY-suhl PAH-lip
by Jennifer Lewy, MSW
Nasal polyps are growths that develop on the inside of your nose or sinuses. They are not able to spread to other parts of the body. You may have a single nasal polyp or you may have several. Nasal polyps are soft and pearl-colored.
The exact cause it not known. Several factors may contribute to nasal polyps, including:
Risk Factors TOP
Men, especially those older than 40 years of age, are at increased risk. Factors that may increase your chance of developing nasal polyps include:
Very small nasal polyps may not cause any symptoms. Larger polyps may block the nose, making it difficult to breathe through the nose. They can also block the passage of odors and reduce the sense of smell.
Symptoms may include:
You will be referred to a specialist. It is important to see a doctor with special training in diagnosing and treating nasal polyps, called an otorhinolaryngologists or an otolaryngologist.
You will be asked questions about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done, paying particular attention to your nose.
Pictures may be taken of your nose. This can be done with a CT scan.
Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Medications may include:
In some cases, surgery may be needed. This can be done with:
There are no guidelines for preventing nasal polyps, because the cause is not known.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
Allergy Asthma Information Association
Dalziel K, Stein K, Round A, Garside R, Royle P. Systematic review of endoscopic sinus surgery for nasal polyps. Health Technol Assess. 2003;7:1-159.
Larsen K. The clinical relationship of nasal polyps to asthma. Allergy Asthma Proc. 1996;17:243-249.
Lund VJ. Diagnosis and treatment of nasal polyps. BMJ. 1995;311:1411-1414.
Nasal polyps. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated November 25, 2014. Accessed February 17, 2015.
Patient UK. Nasal polyps. Patient UK website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated March 21, 2014. Accessed February 17, 2015.
White AA, Stevenson DD. Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease: update on pathogenesis and desensitization. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2012 Dec;33(6):588-94.
Last reviewed February 2015 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 5/1/2014
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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