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Nasal Polyps
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Nasal polyps

From MayoClinic.com

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CANCER

Head or Neck

Nasal polyps are soft, jelly-like overgrowths of the lining of the sinuses. It's hard to breathe, your nose drips constantly and your sense of smell just isn't what it used to be. If this sounds like you, you probably blame allergies or a chronic sinus infection. But in some cases, your symptoms may be due to nasal polyps - soft, noncancerous (benign) growths that develop on the lining of your nose or sinuses.

Small nasal polyps usually cause few problems, but larger ones can affect your breathing and diminish your sense of smell. Sometimes they may cause dull headaches or snoring, and in rare cases, massive polyps may actually alter the shape of your face.

Nasal polyps result from chronic inflammation in the lining of your nose or sinuses, although just what triggers the inflammation isn't always clear. Although nasal polyps can affect anyone, they're more common in adults older than 40 and in adults and children with conditions such as asthma, chronic sinus infections (chronic sinusitis), hay fever (chronic rhinitis) and cystic fibrosis - a serious, inherited disorder that causes respiratory, digestive and reproductive problems.

Inhaled or oral steroid medications are the most common treatment for small nasal polyps. You may need surgery to remove larger polyps. Although this eliminates symptoms, polyps frequently return, requiring further operations.

Signs and symptoms

You may have just one nasal polyp or you may have several, clustered together like grapes on a stem. The polyps are generally soft and pearl colored, with a consistency like jelly. Very small single or multiple polyps may not cause any problems, but larger ones are likely to obstruct the airways in your nose, making it difficult to breathe. This may lead to mouth breathing, especially in children.

Other signs and symptoms of nasal polyps include:

  • A runny nose

  • Persistent stuffiness

  • Chronic sinus infections

  • Loss or diminishment of your sense of smell

  • Dull headaches

  • Snoring

 

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