Nasal polyps are swellings of the normal nasal lining that occur inside the nasal passages and sinuses. They are typically pearly in colour and can vary in size.

Nasal polyps usually only cause problems if they are large or grow in clusters.

Symptoms can include:

  • a blocked nose
  • a runny nose
  • mucus that drips from the back of your nose down your throat (post-nasal drip)
  • a reduced sense of smell or taste
  • a feeling of fullness or pressure in the face
  • snoring
  • obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) –  your airways become temporarily blocked while you’re asleep, which can disturb your sleep


  • History and Physical Examination
    • Examination of the internal nose
    • Evaluate your symptoms
  • Diagnostic Tests
    • endoscopy (where a small tube with a camera at one end is inserted up your nostril)
    • CT



Nasal polyps can be difficult to get rid of permanently, but steroid medication can often help shrink them, and surgery to remove them can be carried out if medication doesn’t help. The main treatment measures are:

  • corticosteroid nose drops or nasal sprays to shrink the polyps over a number of weeks or months
  • corticosteroid tablets to shrink larger or more troublesome polyps quickly, although they’re not usually used for more than 10 days because of the risk of side effects
  • surgery to remove large or persistent polyps using tiny surgical instruments inserted up your nostrils

As polyps can grow back after treatment, including after surgery, you will usually be advised to continue using corticosteroid nasal sprays to help stop them returning quickly.

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