• kids leaning
  • mother1 daughter
  • kids run
  • girls
  • kids eating
  • track
  • kids side
  • kids food
  • mother kids
  • New resources for patients at risk
  • kids computing

Nasal Polyps

pdf Nasal Polyps 78.54 Kb

Nasal polyps are soft, jelly-like overgrowths of the lining of the sinuses. They look like grapes on the end of a stalk. They occur in around 1 in 200 people, mostly by the age of 40 years.

Symptoms of nasal polyps

Nasal polyps do not always cause symptoms. As they usually grow through the tunnel that connects the sinuses to the nose, the result is often a blocked nose. More importantly, they can block the tunnels connecting the nose to the sinus cavities. Like water in a stagnant pond, this can lead to sinus infections.

Causes of nasal polyps

The cause of nasal polyps is unknown, but inflammation in the sinuses (from allergy or infection) may trigger polyps and make them grow faster.  They may even come back faster after sinus operations. Sometimes other conditions can occur with greater frequency in people with nasal polyps. These include sinus infections, asthma and allergy to aspirin.

Treatment of nasal polyps

Treatment options include:

  • Surgical removal, although they will regrow eventually in around 50% of people.
  • Cortisone tablets will shrink nasal polyps temporarily, but can't be taken long term because of side effects.
  • Intranasal corticosteroid sprays (INCS) can slow polyp growth and people with recurrent polyps who have had multiple operations are often advised to use INCS in the long term. In people with recurrent disease, INCS should be considered as "weed killers", which need to be used continuously. Slower growth means fewer sinus infections, less antibiotics and less frequent surgery.
  • Immunotherapy (desensitisation) is sometimes used in allergic people with allergic rhinitis (hay fever) as well as polyps. While this often helps allergic rhinitis, it is not known for certain whether immunotherapy helps shrink nasal polyps.
  • People with aspirin allergy, nasal polyps and asthma (a condition known as the aspirin triad) have the option of aspirin desensitisation, which can reduce asthma severity, the rate of polyp regrowth and the severity of sinusitis. The decision to undertake aspirin desensitisation should be made by a medical specialist (Allergist / Clinical Immunologist).

There is currently no evidence that altering the diet will help in the management of nasal polyps.

© ASCIA 2010

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) is the peak professional body of Clinical Immunologists and Allergists in Australia and New Zealand.

Website: www.allergy.org.au

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Postal address: PO Box 450 Balgowlah, NSW Australia 2093

Disclaimer

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by ASCIA members and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review.  Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner. The development of this document is not funded by any commercial sources and is not influenced by commercial organisations. 

 

Content last updated January 2010

Disclaimer and Privacy

The ASCIA website is intended for use by ASCIA members, other health professionals, the general public and media. The content provided is for education, communication and information purposes only and is not intended to replace or constitute medical advice or treatments. Read more...

ASCIA respects your privacy. Read our privacy policy here...

 

Sponsors and Advertising

ASCIA does not endorse products from sponsoring organisations, nor is it influenced by sponsoring organisations with regard to the content of education programs and websites.

The ASCIA website does not accept advertising. Any link to a third-party website does not imply any endorsement by ASCIA.

Accreditation

healthdirect
This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.


World Allergy Organization (WAO)

ASCIA is a WAO member society