Polyps – uncontrolled growth of the nasal mucosa

Polyps – uncontrolled growth of the nasal mucosa

If your nose always runs, one sniffle follows the next, and your child snores at a young age, polyps can also be behind it. But the mucosal tumours do not only cause annoying symptoms in children. Polyps are protrusions of the mucous membrane that are usually attached to a stalk. They can occur in a wide variety of places in the body that are covered with mucous membranes, for example, in the gastrointestinal tract, in the urinary bladder, on the teeth or in the paranasal sinuses.

polyps in the nose

In the vernacular, polyps are usually considered benign growths in the nasal mucosa that line the inside of the nose and paranasal sinuses or – especially in children – an enlargement of the pharyngeal tonsils. Polyps are benign growths made up of connective tissue and containing fluid. Most nasal polyps are stalk- or drop-shaped; they rarely sit flat on the mucous membrane. They can be a few millimetres in size, but sometimes they expand so much that they close off the entire nasal cavity.

They often grow near the entrances to the maxillary sinuses, in the paranasal sinuses or the connecting channels between the sinuses and the central nasal cavity. As a rule, they develop on both sides. A unilateral occurrence can indicate a tumour disease – whether the polyp is benign or malignant must then be clarified. Nasal polyps are very common and can occur at any age.

 

Causes of polyps

The most important reason for developing nasal polyps is chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa. These can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi, for example. The nasal mucosa can also become polypoid for allergiesasthma or bronchitis.

As soon as an inflammation of the mucous membrane becomes chronic, there is a risk that polyps will develop, and a vicious circle will arise: the growths make it more difficult for the nose to ventilate, which then promotes further inflammation, which in turn leads to polyps. Nasal polyps are also a typical side effect of cystic fibrosis, and people who suffer from aspirin intolerance often develop polyps.

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