What Are Nasal Polyps

What Are Nasal Polyps?

Sometimes you feel as if you have a cold that never leaves. You are clogged and congested most of the time. Nothing seems to help your debilitating misery. Many people think they have the common cold or flu. Over-the-counter medications offer no relief for the sufferer having nasal polyps.


Infections and inflammation that have become chronic (long lasting and continuous) produce most nasal polyps. They are tumorous lumps and attach by a stalk to the inside of the nose.

Polyps of the nasal passages are not cancer—they are benign growths of the mucus lining in your nose and are of a gelatin-type substance.

Because nasal polyps block the normal free moving air in the nose, this condition provides for harmful bacteria to develop, increase, and flourish, causing excruciating pain, and potential infection. These polyps are usually translucent gray on the nose lining and sinus spaces.

When you do not seek treatment, an extremely serious blood infection (septicemia) can occur and usually requires hospitalization with antibiotic therapy for a few days.


What are Nasal Polyps?—Common Symptoms

  • Nasal congestion, difficult breathing feeling “stuffy,” obstruction where you feel your nose is “blocked”
  • Sleep apnea
  • Nose runs a watery or thick mucus discharge (rhinitis)
  • Headaches, pressure, pain and face throbbing
  • Chronic (lasting more than 6 months) sinus infections (sinusitis)
  • Snoring, loss of smell, diminished sense of taste, mouth breathing
  • Postnasal drainage (in back of the throat)


Other conditions that exacerbate developing nasal polyps are: 1.) hay fever, 2.) asthma, and 3.) sinus inflammation (sinusitis) and infection in the sinus cavities.


What are nasal polyps? The origin and cause of nasal polyps’ inflammation is unknown. However, nasal polyps have been around for about 300 years. Nasal tumors (polyps) are the most common. They are considered to be from allergies within our environment and you can be tested for this. Children with cystic fibrosis (CF) or asthma are at an increased risk for nasal polyps. If you are sensitive to aspirin, you could be a candidate for nasal polyps. The quality of your life is impacted when you have nasal polyps more than when you have recurrent allergic runny nose conditions.

Positioning of your body when resting or sleeping on your back can cause the polyp to shift to the back of the nasal cavity. When sitting or resting erect, this position can cause the polyp to be more obstructive.


Who Develops Nasal Polyps?

Women do not usually contract polyps while men seem to be more at risk. Polyps are usually seen in adults over age 40.

Once again, children with chronic sinus infections, asthma, hay fever, and the respiratory condition, cystic fibrosis, are at a higher threat.


When you want to know, what are nasal polyps?—consult with your healthcare provider.

Image credit: alila / 123RF Stock Photo

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“Polyps of the nasal passages are not cancer…” Thank you SO MUCH for posting that towards the beginning! I am searching for more information about nasal polyps online because I just heard my dad has them and this has to be the best article I found, especially because it didn’t scare me like some other articles I have come across. I am going to forward this post to him so he can learn more.

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