Nasal polyps are fleshy swellings, or polypoidal masses that develop in the lining of the nose and paranasal sinuses (air-filled spaces, communicating with the nasal cavity, within the bones of the skull and face). They are non-cancerous growths. Polyps vary in size; they may be yellowish brown or pink and are shaped like teardrops. As they grow they eventually look like grapes on a stem.
Polyps usually grow in both nostrils; they can also grow on their own or in clusters. Polyps in just one side of the nose are not common. Large polyps and/or clusters can cause breathing difficulties. They can affect the patient’s sense of smell. They may block the sinuses and cause frequent infections and other problems.
Individuals with asthma, frequent sinus infections and allergies are more likely to develop nasal polyps. Some children with cystic fibrosis may develop nasal polyps.