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Nasal Polyps

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What are nasal polyps?

Nasal polyps are noncancerous growths that are caused by long-term swelling of the inside of your nose. The swelling may be caused by allergies, or repeated nasal or sinus infections. Polyps usually occur in both sides of your nose. They can grow in size and number and cause your nasal tissue and bone to expand. Polyps can also grow large enough to block air going in and out of your nose.

What are the symptoms of nasal polyps?

  • Nasal congestion
  • Difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Mouth breathing
  • Decreased or lost sense of smell
  • Runny nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Dull headache or facial pain

How are nasal polyps diagnosed?

  • A rhinoscope is a thin tube with a light and lens at the end. It allows your healthcare provider to see the inside of your nose. A rhinoscopy can be done in your healthcare provider's office.
  • An x-ray may show the areas where there are nasal polyps.
  • Nasal endoscopy is a procedure to find nasal polyps. A nasal endoscope is a bendable tube with a light and camera on the end.
  • A CT scan is done to show the size of the polyps. It also helps your healthcare provider create a plan for surgery. You may be given a contrast liquid before the scan. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.

How are nasal polyps treated?

A part of treating nasal polyps is to treat the underlying condition causing the polyps. You may need antihistamines if you have allergies, or antibiotics if you have an infection. You may also need any of the following:

  • Steroids may be given as a nasal spray or a pill. Steroids decrease the size of the polyps and congestion.
  • Surgery is done for severe blockage and if other treatment does not work.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

How can I prevent nasal polyps?

  • Avoid allergens. These may include pollen, pet dander, smoke, and mold. Take your prescribed medicines immediately If you have a reaction. Your healthcare provider may prescribe allergy shots for you.
  • Do not use nose drops or sprays too often. Read the label and use only as directed.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your symptoms do not get better with treatment.
  • Your symptoms return after treatment.
  • Your nose bleeds or is irritated.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Learn more about Nasal Polyps

Treatment options

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.