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Ear Nose and Throat

Nasal Polyps

What are nasal polyps?

Nasal polyps are soft, painless, benign growths found on the lining of the sinuses and nasal passages. The inside of the nose and sinuses are lined with mucus membranes. The mucus membranes function to clean the inside of the nose. When the lining becomes inflamed, swelling and increased mucus production can lead to nasal and sinus disorders.

What causes nasal polyps?

Polyps develop in response to chronic long-term inflammation (over 4 months) in the mucus membranes. People with allergies, asthma, and recent sinus infections are more likely to have nasal polyps. Nasal polyps can grow to block the nasal and sinus passages, leading to difficulty breathing, loss of smell, mucus drainage, and chronic sinus infections.

What are the symptoms of nasal polyps?

  • runny nose with clear or colored mucus
  • nasal congestion
  • postnasal drip, mucus that runs down the back of your throat
  • facial pressure or pain
  • decreased sense of smell and taste
  • mouth breathing
  • snoring

When symptoms last longer than ten days, it is time to see your doctor at Fayetteville Otolaryngology.

How are nasal polyps diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based on your medical history and physical exam. Your ENT may need to perform a nasal endoscopy. A CT scan of the sinuses may be recommended. Allergy testing may be recommended to determine the cause of your stubborn inflammation.

How are nasal polyps treated?

Medical treatment can involve medications to reduce the size of the polyps and relieve congestion. The use of nasal steroid sprays like fluticasone can relieve a runny nose and congestion. Oral steroids can often reduce polyps. Surgery to remove polyps may be recommended when conservative treatment fails. However, polyps can always regrow. Newer treatments to modulate the immune system can help reduce the size of polyps and the need for surgery.


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