Nasal polyps (polyposis nasi)

Nasal polyps are growths of the mucous membrane in the nose or sinuses. Polyps can obstruct nasal breathing and cause symptoms such as snoring and olfactory disorders

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What are nasal polyps?

Nasal polyps are soft, benign growths of the mucous membrane that arise in the paranasal sinuses.

The tumors are a few millimeters to several centimeters in size and can grow into the nasal cavity. The growths sit flat on the mucous membrane or are connected to it via a thin stile (stalk).

Nasal polyps predominantly occur in adulthood. They belong to the clinical picture of chronic sinusitis (chronic sinusitis). In childhood, nasal polyps occur with cystic fibrosis (cystic fibrosis) and with rather rare functional disorders of the nasal mucosa (ciliary dyskinesia).

Nasal polyps can grow from the sinuses to the nasal cavity

© Fotolia / creaseo

Which symptoms are typical?

Nasal polyps do not always cause discomfort at first. As they grow in size, they can cause different symptoms - for example, impaired nasal breathing, a nasal voice, frequent colds and sinus infections with headaches, impaired olfactory sense, or snoring. You can find out more about the possible signs in the Symptoms chapter.

How does a nasal polyp develop?

The exact causes are unclear. The risk factor is persistent inflammation of the mucous membranes due to allergies or infections. The disposition also plays a role. Nasal polyps occur particularly frequently in connection with bronchial asthma and an intolerance to pain medication. You can read more details in the chapter Causes.

Our expert: Dr. Frank Waldfahrer, specialist in ear, nose and throat medicine

© Sandra Stumpf

How are nasal polyps treated?

For therapy, the doctor usually prescribes medication, for example a corticosteroid nasal spray, and in the case of a simultaneous allergy, possibly also antihistamines.

If this treatment is unsuccessful, the ear, nose and throat doctor can remove the polyps in an operation. More information is available in the Therapy chapter.

Confusion: "polyps" in children

'The polyps are enlarged and need to be operated on,' it is often said in colloquial terms. When it comes to children, however, nasal polyps are rarely meant - but mostly an enlarged pharynx, i.e. lymphatic tissue. This has nothing to do with nasal polyps that arise from the nasal mucous membrane. You can read more about enlarged throat tonsils in the article: "Do the tonsils have to get out?"

Important NOTE:
This article contains general information only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor. Unfortunately, our experts cannot answer individual questions.

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