Believe it or not, nasal polyps are fairly common. They are shaped much like teardrops and are non-cancerous growths that thrive in the nose and sinuses. In sinuses, they are found where the sinuses open to the nasal cavity. Matured polyps very much look like peeled, seedless grapes. The growths in the nose can be of different sizes; they can appear to be pinkish, brownish, or yellowish brown in hue. These polyps group together, and can grow to look like grapes on one stem.
Polyps may grow on one or both nostrils. They may also grow independently, or in clusters (like the grapes mentioned). Polyps growing on one side of the nose is not uncommon. When these nasal growths swell, they may pose a health risk in the form of breathing difficulty. They may also adversely affect a person’s sense of smell and taste due to the blockage. These polyps may also cause more infections than what is normal, block the sinuses and prevent them from functioning well, as well as cause other problems within the nose.
Nasal polyps appear more frequently in males than females – in fact, they appear four times as much in men than women, and often at the age of 40 and beyond. These growths must not be confused or associated with polyps that form in a person’s bladder or colon – these growths in the nose are rarely malignant. They are thought to result from a hereditary tendency or chronic inflammation. Swollen turbinates, which line our noses, are also different because these polyps are not painful to touch.
Who Can Get Nasal Polyps?
Polyps that grow in our noses affect many different people, but the risk increases to individuals who are forty and above. Rarely do they appear in children under 10. These polyps also appear in greater frequency to the following people:
– Individuals who are suffering from chronic sinusitis, or a chronic inflammation in the nasal area or passages.
– Those who have allergic conditions, particularly allergic fungal sinusitis, in which airborne fungi are the culprit to uncomfortable reactions.
– People who are sensitive to aspirin and other NSAIDs, or non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, have a greater chance to develop polyps.
– Individuals who have asthma, and those who have rhinitis or hay fever are also more likely to develop nasal polyps.
– Those whose parents have had polyp growths in the nose also have a greater chance to acquire them.
– People who have cystic fibrosis and the Churg-Strauss syndrome.