Ear, Nose and Throat

How To Tell if You Have Nasal Polyps

Originally published February 27, 2018

Last reviewed June 17, 2022

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Do you have a runny or stuffed up nose? There might be more to your symptoms than just a head cold.

Nasal polyps are sac-like growths that form in the lining of your nasal passage and sinuses, often near the eyes, nose and cheekbones. They’re usually benign and may range in size — small polyps generally don’t cause any symptoms, but larger growths may block sinuses and nasal airways.

Although experts haven’t identified a cause for nasal polyps, certain conditions, including asthma, hay fever, cystic fibrosis and chronic sinus infections may increase a person’s risk of developing polyps.

Though smaller polyps may not cause many symptoms, larger nasal polyps, or those in certain areas of the nose, can lead to a runny or stuffed up nose, sneezing, a loss of taste or smell, snoring, headaches and, in some cases, pain. People with nasal polyps also report feeling like they have a constant head cold.

Even though you can’t prevent nasal polyps, the use of nasal sprays, antihistamines and allergy shots may keep them from blocking your airway. In addition, there are newer injection therapy treatments that could help prevent the polyps from returning.

Treatment options for these growths can range from medications to endoscopic sinus surgery, if your polyps are on the larger side. This procedure often makes it easier to breathe through your nose. But it’s important to note that nasal polyps do tend to recur. Your doctor can help you decide which treatment options may work best for you.


nasal polyps
Deanna Pai
Deanna Pai is a freelance writer and editor.