Nasal Polyps

What Are Nasal Polyps?

Nasal polyps are non-cancerous growths that occur in the sinuses or nasal mucosa (lining of the nose). They are sac-like, soft, and painless. Nasal polyps generally start at the top of the inside of the nose (the ethmoid sinuses) and grow or hang into the open areas below. While they are painless, larger polyps may obstruct the nasal airway or sinuses making it difficult to breathe out of the nose. You should seek treatment for nasal polyps if they regularly interfere with your breathing.

Risk Factors for Nasal Polyps

  • Asthma
  • Aspirin sensitivity
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Allergic rhinitis

Allergies are a major contributor to chronic inflammation in the nose. If you have severe allergies, you should discuss your risks of developing nasal polyps with an allergist at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers.

Symptoms of Nasal Polyps

  • Breathing through your mouth
  • Loss of your sense of smell (partial or complete)
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Shortness of breath
  • Recurrent sinus infections
  • Runny nose
  • A feeling of facial fullness
  • Feeling like you have had a cold for months or years

Unless you also have a sinus infection, sinus pain, facial pain, headaches, and migraines are not often experienced with nasal polyps.

Diagnosing Nasal Polyps

An allergist or ENT specialist can diagnose nasal polyps. Your allergist may use a nasal endoscopy to view the inside of your nose. This is a narrow tube with a lighted magnifying lens or tiny camera that enables your doctor to perform a detailed examination inside your nose and sinuses. In some cases, you may need a CT scan to diagnose nasal polyps.

At NY Allergy & Sinus Centers, we use a CBCT scan to take 3-D images of your sinuses right in our office. This scan gives us instant access to the information needed to diagnose your sinus problems. It also helps us determine if you need sinus surgery to remove the polyps. Book an appointment for a same-day diagnosis and treatment options.

Treatment For Nasal Polyps

Since allergies contribute to inflammation that causes nasal polyps, we recommend allergy immunotherapy (shots or drops) or other allergy medication to reduce inflammation. Nasal steroid sprays may also help with a runny nose or nasal obstruction. In rare cases, you will need sinus surgery to remove nasal polyps. Contact our allergists today to determine your treatment options.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Are Nasal Polyps Formed?

Chronic inflammation causes the buildup of fluid within the mucus membranes. This results in the formation of fluid-filled growths, which over time expand to become polyps.

Are Nasal Polyps Painful?

Nasal polyps are not painful. However, they can cause other health problems such as sleep apnea if not treated.

Are Nasal Polyps Cancerous?

Most nasal polyps are benign (not cancerous) and are caused by some type of chronic inflammation in the nose. Visit an allergist to determine if your nasal polyps are benign or cancerous.

How Are Nasal Polyps Diagnosed?

An allergist will diagnose nasal polyps using a nasal endoscopy or CT scan. Contact NY Allergy & Sinus Centers for a same-day diagnosis.

Who Is At Risk Of Getting Nasal Polyps?

Individuals with allergies, cystic fibrosis, asthma, or other conditions that affect the sinuses are most likely to develop nasal polyps. Treat your allergic conditions at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers to reduce your risk of developing nasal polyps.

Can Nasal Polyps Cause Snoring?

Because patients can’t breathe through their nose with nasal polyps, they must breathe through their mouth while sleeping, causing them to snore. This can lead to loud nighttime snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a serious condition where breathing stops while sleeping. If you want to treat your snoring, contact NY Allergy & Sinus Centers and ask about our oral sleep apnea device.

How Are Nasal Polyps Treated?

Nasal polyp treatment usually starts with drugs, which can make large polyps shrink or disappear. Drug treatments may include nasal corticosteroids and allergy medication to reduce swelling and irritation. In rare cases, you will need sinus surgery to treat nasal polyps.

Do Nasal Polyps Come Back After They Are Removed?

After nasal polyps are removed, they do have a tendency to come back. Polyps can return in months or years.

Can Nasal Polyps Cause Headaches?

Usually, nasal polyps do not cause headaches unless they are associated with sinusitis. 

How Can I Prevent Nasal Polyps?

You can prevent nasal polyps by managing allergies and asthma. Also, avoid nasal irritants and use a nasal rinse to clear congestion.