Health Advice



Nasal polyps: Unassuming growths with a powerful effect

Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

The nose is the subject of many sayings. A measurement could be on the nose or an object be right under your nose. You may be reminded to keep your nose clean and keep it out of another's affairs.

While often the focus of these idioms, your nose also can be affected by physical conditions, such as nasal polyps. These are soft, painless, noncancerous growths on your nasal passages or sinus linings and hang down like teardrops or grapes.

Nasal polyps may form anywhere in your sinuses or nasal passages. But they most often appear in an area where the sinuses near your eyes, nose and cheekbones drain through winding passages into your nose.

Here's what you need to know about these small growths.

What causes nasal polyps?

Nasal polyps often result from chronic inflammation of the nasal passages. That's why people who have chronic sinusitis have an increased risk of developing nasal polyps. Chronic sinusitis is when the sinuses become swollen and inflamed for more than 12 weeks. This causes the lining in the nose to make more mucus, while the swollen lining interferes with drainage.


People with asthma, allergies, drug sensitivities or certain immune disorders also have an increased risk for nasal polyps.

Scientists don't yet fully understand why certain conditions and inflammation trigger polyps to form in some people and not in others. Nasal polyps can develop at any age but are most common in young and middle-aged adults.

What are the common symptoms of nasal polyps?

A person can have nasal polyps and not know it, especially small ones. Larger or multiple polyps can cause a sensation of nasal congestion, impaired sense of smell and taste, decreased airflow and recurring sinus infections.


swipe to next page

©2023 Mayo Clinic News Network. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus