Texas Allergy Experts

Nasal Polyps


What causes polyps? Small polyps may be common in the normal population.  But larger polyps may be the result of recurrent infection.   Allergy and asthma are closely associated with polyps. The frequency of nasal polyps in adults with asthma is 13% as compared to 1% in the normal population. In patients with aspirin intolerance, it increases to 36%. Aspirin desensitization may be an effective treatment for aspirin-sensitive rhino-sinusitis with asthma and nasal polyps. The need for nasal polypectomies and sinus operations is thereby  reduced.   Despite intuition, allergy to airborne pollen may not be the most important issue, although allergy to certain bacteria may be crucial.

What are the symptoms of nasal polyps? — Small polyps often do not cause any symptoms. Large polyps or having more than one polyp can cause:

●Stuffiness or a blocked feeling in the nose

●Feelings of pressure or fullness in the face

●Trouble smelling

Will I need tests? — Absolutely.   We need to know your allergy status either by skin tests or blood tests or both. We also want to know if there is any asthma.

How are nasal polyps treated? — Nasal polyps are usually treated with medicines called steroids that come in pills or as a nose spray. Steroids used for nasal polyps are not the same steroids that athletes take to build muscle. These steroids can help shrink the polyps and make it easier to breathe. Steroid pills should only be used for short periods of time, no more than a few weeks a year. That's because they can have side effects if taken for longer.

If steroid medicines don't shrink your polyps, your doctor might suggest surgery. But in most people, polyps tend to come back after surgery if nothing more is done. So even if you have surgery, you must also keep using steroids, usually in the form of nose sprays or nose drops. Steroid sprays and drops can be used for longer than pills, because the dose is much lower.

New Hope   We also find that aspirin treatment and desensitization may help.  Texas Allergy Experts are also involved in cutting edge biologic trials with monoclonal antibodies to interleukins.  This may provide the ultimate hope in prevention and treatment of polyps.

Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better? — Yes. Some people feel better if they rinse their nose and sinuses with salt water a few times a day. Ask your doctor or nurse if this would help in your case. If so, he or she can tell you the best way to do this.

Edited from Uptodate; polyps the basics


What are nasal polyps? — Polyps are just cysts of fluid – they are not cancer.   They tend to swell and block both the ability to breath and smell.  If you look at a cross section of the nose, they appear as a white glistening sacs of fluid.

Many people who have nasal polyps also have "chronic sinusitis," a condition that can cause a stuffy nose, pain in the face, and discharge (mucus) from the nose