Nasal polyps - Symptoms 

Symptoms of nasal polyps 

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Nasal polyps only usually cause symptoms if an individual polyp is particularly large or if there are clusters of polyps.

The symptoms of polyps can include:

  • blocked nose - which may cause breathing difficulties; you may have to breathe through your mouth
  • runny nose
  • mucus that drips from the back of your nose down your throat - known as post-nasal drip
  • reduced sense of smell or taste - in severe cases, you may lose your sense of smell or taste completely 
  • snoring 


If one or more polyps develop in or around one of your sinuses, fluid and mucus can build up inside your sinus.

Sinuses are small, air-filled cavities that are located on either side of your nose, within the bones of your face.

If fluid builds up in your sinus and the polyp prevents it from draining, an infection can develop. An infection of the sinuses is known as sinusitis.

The symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • facial pain and tenderness near the infected sinuses - usually a throbbing pain that feels worse when you move your head, and toothache or pain in your jaw when you eat
  • a high temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or above

Some people with nasal polyps develop repeated episodes of sinusitis.

Severe or long-term sinus infections can be very serious. If the infection spreads to your eye, it could cause your eye to swell or bulge and you may be unable to move your eye. It could also affect your vision.

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

A very large polyp or a group of polyps can temporarily block your airways while you are asleep. This condition is known as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

Most people are unaware that they have breathing difficulties during the night because OSA does not cause you to wake up fully. However, constant interruptions to your sleep will mean that you feel very tired and drowsy during the day.

When to get medical help

A blocked or runny nose and a reduced sense of smell are typical symptoms of nasal polyps.

However, these symptoms are also related to several other conditions including the common cold. However, colds usually clear up within 14 days, whereas nasal polyps do not get better without treatment.

Visit your GP if you have cold-like symptoms that last for more than two weeks.

Page last reviewed: 13/03/2013

Next review due: 13/03/2015


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The 2 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

entnightmare said on 02 March 2013

Well thats me on my 3rd time with nasal Polyps. They come back every two years with me. Been to to doctors again they gave me Steroid tablets that work for a couple of weeks which seem to shrink the polyps. Then after a month I have to go back to the doctors as I can breath up my nose at all 99 % of the time. The next thing you will get told is that they will have to try a Nasal Spray before they can recommend the ENT specialist. So then I try the spray and it does bugger all. This time they will confirm what you already know that you will need to go to the ENT specialist. Appointment comes after 6 weeks then they giver you steroid nasal drops that worked really well while they last. They were called Betnesol 0.1% ear and nose drops. Took them for 4 weeks two drops twice a day. I could breath much better but soon as the drops ran out after 4 weeks of using them the polyps have come straight back. Well roll on my next hospital appointment as its been nearly 3 more months.
I have been off work for the last 3 days with headaches and sore eyes and major sneezing fits because of these stupid Polyps hence the rant lol.
If you do have reoccurring Polyps I would suggest you go to a doctor as soon as possible as the whole procedure from going to your GP and getting them out in hospital (if required) takes 8 or nine months on average. Unless your lucky to afford to have them removed yourself for around £2500 plus consultation fees.
Anyone Know of any better way of stopping Polyps reoccurring? If so please let everyone know.
Well thats all for now. Am away to buy another half a dozen boxes of tissues for my nose. Grrrrrrr

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autumn treasure said on 24 January 2013

My symptoms was tooth ache but the dentist said there is nothing wrong with your teeth.

Also felt for four or five weeks like i had a boogie stuck in ny nose touching my septom but couldnt pick and blow it out when i looked in my nose i saw nothing so i asked my boyfriend to look he said you have a swelling my doctor confirmed it and started me on a steroid nasal spray only just started can take five weeks to improve. Caises are allergies i dont know what i have an allergy to so if u hace what feels like a boogie on your nostril that wont budge then more than likely a polyp can be dangerous to your eyesight

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A quarter of Britons snore, causing misery for partners and potentially putting their own health at risk