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Condition and Symptoms

Nasal polyps are another cause of nasal obstruction and can be diagnosed at the initial consultation. A nasal polyp is a swelling of the lining of the nose, which is usually due to inflammation of the lining of the nose.

Nasal polyps contain inflammatory fluid and, while they can be associated with allergy and infection, the exact reason why some people get them and not others is not known.

Late onset (adult) asthma rather than childhood asthma is associated with nasal polyps. Of the patients with polyps 20% - 40% will have coexisting asthma. Although nasal allergy is present in some cases, more than two thirds of the patients show no evidence of allergic disease. Asthma, aspirin sensitivity and nasal polyps together are a well-recognised subgroup (‘Samter’s Triad’) in 8% of polyp patients. These polyps tend to recur more than in other conditions.

The chance of developing nasal polyps is between 1 and 20 for every 1000 people, 

after the age of 60 the chance of developing polyps declines.

One-sided nasal polyps are rare and associated with a range of conditions which need further investigation.

Polyps can cause:

  • Blocked nose

  • Runny nose and/or sneezing are seen in about half of patients

  • A poor sense of smell and taste which may not always return after treating the polyps

  • Catarrh


Nasal polyps are known to shrink when nasal sprays or drops containing nasal steroids are used. Stronger steroids in drop form can be used but should only be used with care and Mrs Bentley will limit this to short courses only, because some is absorbed into the body.

Polyps respond and shrink using drops or sprays in up to 80% of people. The topical nasal steroids Mrs Bentley prescribes can be taken to control symptoms for many years as very little is absorbed into the body.  

Mrs Bentley might also prescribe a course of steroids in tablet form if the polyps are very large and causing significant impact on quality of life. They can provide good relief of symptoms and they are used sparingly because of concerns about side effects. 

If medicines do not work then Mrs Bentley will discuss surgery to remove your nasal polyps.

Nasal Polyps: Articles & Resources
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