FAQ: Nasal Polyps
Written by Adrian Wozniak   
Thursday, 29 October 2009

Nasal polyps are growths in the nasal cavity. They often look like grapes or small balloons within the structures of the nasal cavity.

What is going on in the body?


The nose acts as a filter, removing over 80% of particles in the air. A variety of agents entering the nose can cause inflammation. These agents include pollens, mold spores, animal dander, dust mites, dust, and dirt. Nasal polyps are the result of long-term, untreated nasal inflammation. Rarely, the polyps may protrude through the nostrils.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Many disorders can lead to nasal polyps, including:
- asthma, a disease of the airways that is the most common cause
- chronic allergies
- sinusitis, particularly sinus infections cause by a fungus
- cystic fibrosis, a congenital disease that affects the airways
- sensitivity to aspirin
- structural abnormalities of the nose

What are the treatments for the condition?
Polyps can usually be reduced with long-term nasal steroid therapy and management of the underlying disorder. If an individual continues to have symptoms despite medical therapy, surgery may be recommended.

What are the side effects of the treatments?
Side effects are specific to the medications used. In the case of surgery, hemorrhage, infection, and injury to eye structures may rarely occur.

What happens after treatment for the condition?
The symptoms usually subside after medical treatment. However, new polyps often develop, especially in people with asthma. Children with cystic fibrosis usually continue to have difficulties with polyps.

How is the condition monitored?


One of the earliest symptoms of polyp recurrence is the loss of sense of smell. If this occurs, a person should seek medical attention. Because recurrence is common, regular medical follow-up helps to determine the rate of regrowth and what type of therapy may be necessary. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.