Nasal polyps affect the lining of the nose, often originating from the ethmoid sinuses, which drain into the side wall of the nasal cavity. These painless soft growths aren’t usually serious, but they can keep growing and block your nose if not treated. They contain inflammatory fluid and, while often associated with allergy and infection, the exact cause is not known.
They commonly occur with more general diseases such as late-onset asthma in an adult (rather than childhood asthma), aspirin intolerance or cystic fibrosis. Nasal polyps are up to four times more common in men, affecting between one and 20 in every 1,000 people, though after the age of 60, the risk declines. Nasal polyps are rare in children between the ages of two and 10 and, if found, require testing for cystic fibrosis.
More than 30% of polyps are in patients with coexisting asthma. Two-thirds have no known systemic allergic disease, but 90% of nasal polyps show eosinophilia – inflammatory cells associated with allergy. Aspirin hypersensitivity is also associated with polyps. They look like small grapes, singly or in clusters, in the nasal cavity.
These include blocked or runny nose and sneezing, snoring, post-nasal drip, and poor sense of smell and taste, which don’t always return after treatment. If your polyps block your sinuses (the air pockets around your nose), you may also have symptoms of sinusitis. A GP can usually diagnose nasal polyps by looking inside your nose, then offer steroid nose drops or a spray to shrink them, which is effective in up to 80% of patients.
You may be given steroid tablets, usually for up to two weeks, if your polyps are large or nose drops and sprays haven’t worked. If there’s no sign of improvement after about 10 weeks, the GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist for treatment.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
‘My son was a very happy SURPRISE‘
Downton Abbey star Phyllis Logan reveals how’s she’s been lucky in both her professional and her personal life
What to eat for THICKER HAIR
It’s not all about pricey products and costly cuts. What you pop on your plate is important too
Volunteer this CHRISTMAS
Here’s how you can help those in need over the festive season and beyond
Lift your mood with these easy-to-grow fragrant plants
Revamp your HALLWAY
Turn this often-forgotten space into a stylish entrance to welcome you home
ME, Myself, I
Having made one life-changing decision, it was now time for Ingrid to make another
From helped to HELPER
After escaping a controlling relationship, Louise* dedicated herself to saving others
Coping with DEMENTIA
Dementia is a term for a range of progressive conditions that affect brain function
A WALK and a welcome
We’ve put together four fabulous walks with watering holes – what better way to spend an autumn day
A slip IN TIME
Beth had something spooky to reveal – but what were the chances of her being believed?