Nasal polyps are sac-like growths of inflamed tissue lining the nose (nasal mucosa) or sinuses.  Nasal polyps typically start near the ethmoid sinuses (located at the top of the inside of the nose) and grow into the open spaces.  Large polyps can block the sinuses or nasal cavities.


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


People with nasal polyps often complain about having a cold that has lasted for months or years.  The symptoms can include; mouth breathing, nose feeling blocked (nasal obstruction), reduced or loss sense of smell (not common with a sinus infection) and runny nose.

On examination of the nose, polyps are a grayish grape like mass in the nasal cavity.  A CT scan of the sinuses will show opaque (cloudy) spots where the polyps are.   Medications help relieve symptoms but rarely get rid of the nasal polyps.   Some people will need surgery, such as functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS).  Usually polyps can be treated with appropriate medications.  Nasal sprays, antihistamines and allergy shots may help prevent polyps that block the nasal airway.

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