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. They can be treated.
Doctors do not know the cause of nasal polyps. Several factors may contribute to nasal polyps, including:
Risk Factors TOP
Factors that can 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.
If you have any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to nasal polyps. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. :
It is important to see a doctor with special training in diagnosing and treating nasal polyps, called an otorhinolaryngologists or an otolaryngologist. Your doctor can refer you to a specialist.
The doctor will look at the inside of your nose to check for blockage. This physical exam may include:
The doctor will ask questions about:
Other tests may be done to reach a diagnosis.
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:
There are no guidelines for preventing nasal polyps because the cause is unknown. But, there are several things you can do to reduce your chance of developing nasal polyps:
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
Allergy Asthma Information Association
Adkinson N, Middleton E. Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2003.
Cummings CW. Otolayrngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby; 2005.
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: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated March 4, 2013. Accessed April 2, 2013.
Patient UK. Nasal polyps. Patient UK website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Nasal-Polyps.htm . Updated March 25, 2011. Accessed April 2, 2013.
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 March 2013 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 3/15/2013