Benign and edematous growths, nasal polyps are usually multiple, mobile, and bilateral. Nasal polyps may become large and numerous enough to cause nasal distention and enlargement of the bony framework, possibly occluding the airway. They’re more common in adults than in children and tend to recur.
Nasal polyps are usually produced by the continuous pressure resulting from a chronic allergy that causes prolonged mucous membrane edema in the nose and sinuses. Other predisposing factors include chronic sinusitis, chronic rhinitis, and recurrent nasal infections. Approximately 1 in 4 people with cystic fibrosis has nasal polyps.
Signs and symptoms
Nasal obstruction is the primary indication of nasal polyps. Such obstruction causes anosmia, a sensation of fullness in the face, nasal discharge, headache, and shortness of breath. Associated signs and symptoms are usually symptomatic of allergic rhinitis.
The following tests are used to diagnose nasal polyps:
X-rays of sinuses and nasal passages reveal soft-tissue shadows over the affected areas.
Examination with a nasal speculum shows a dry, red surface, with clear or gray growths. Large growths may resemble tumors.
Nasal polyps occurring in children require further testing to rule out cystic fibrosis and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.