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 is not known. Several factors may contribute to nasal polyps, including:
Men, especially those older than age 40 years, 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 airflow, making it difficult to breathe through the nose. They can also block the passage of odors, reducing 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
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 current guidelines to prevent nasal polyps because the cause is unknown.
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.
Larsen K. The clinical relationship of nasal polyps to asthma.
Allergy Asthma Proc. 1996;17(5):243-249.
Lund VJ. Diagnosis and treatment of nasal polyps.
Nasal polyps. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114065/Nasal-polyps. Updated July 25, 2016. Accessed September 26, 2016.
Patient UK. Nasal polyps. Patient UK website. Available at:
http://patient.info/health/nasal-polyps-leaflet. 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;33(6):588-594.
Last reviewed March 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Information Services. All rights reserved.