Nasal Polyps 101


By: Nicole A. Mezo, PA-C

photo of Nicole Mezo at Colorado Allergy & Asthma Centers

What Are Nasal Polyps?

Nasal polyps are non-cancerous growths of chronically inflamed mucosal tissue within the nasal and/or sinus cavities. It is estimated that 4% of the population has them, they are more prevalent in men than women, and primarily occur after the age of 20. 

Symptoms:

Symptoms may include a runny nose, nasal congestion, postnasal drip, a decreased sense of smell and taste, mouth breathing, and sinus pressure.

Complications:

Inflammation may lead to obstruction of the nasal passages and sinuses, and thus chronic sinusitis, due to the inability of the sinus fluid to drain properly.

nasal polyps

Risk Factors:

Patients with underlying nasal allergies (allergic rhinitis), cystic fibrosis, and aspirin sensitivity are predisposed to develop nasal polyps.

Children under the age of 20 with nasal polyps must be worked up for cystic fibrosis (up to 67% of all cystic fibrosis patients will develop nasal polyps in their lifetime).

Treatment:

Treatment includes avoidance of triggers/allergens, intranasal corticosteroid sprays, oral corticosteroids for severe cases (or to shrink the polyps prior to surgery), surgical intervention, leukotriene antagonists (e.g. montelukast), biologic agents (e.g. dupilumab/omalizumab), and aspirin desensitization in patients with aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease, or AERD, also known as Samter’s syndrome aka Triad asthma (nasal polyps, asthma, and aspirin allergy).

If you are worried you may be suffering from this condition, we encourage you to make an appointment with one of our allergists today.

Category: Insights