Feeling like your nose is blocked is a common symptom.
If you think you have nasal polyps—balloon-like growths inside the nasal cavity—it’s important to see a doctor. Symptoms of nasal polyps can really be frustrating and affect your breathing, your sleep quality, the taste of food, and more.
Nasal polyps symptoms depend on their size and location. The larger the nasal polyps, the more the nose is going to be blocked, and the more serious the symptoms will be. Because of this, some smaller polyps may not cause any symptoms.
Common Symptoms of Nasal Polyps
When nasal polyps cause symptoms, the following are the most common:
- Feeling like your nose is “blocked”
- Runny nose
- Loss of sense of smell and/or taste
- Headache and facial pressure
- Feeling like you always have a head cold
Symptoms may also feel more present on one side than the other. Nasal polyps typically grow on both sides, but if one is larger on one side, you will likely feel the symptoms more on that side.
Effects on Quality of Life
Nasal polyps may be benign (non-cancerous), but they can really take a toll on quality of life. The loss of smell can take the pleasure out of food. You may find it hard to breathe all day for weeks, months, or years. Plus, they can lead to complications of nasal polyps.
For example, nasal polyps can block your breathing and affect your sleep. When breathing is difficult, it may be harder to get enough good-quality sleep at night. You may be more likely to snore, and you may develop obstructive sleep apnea. This is when breathing pauses throughout the night due to an obstruction in the airway, causing you to wake up many times throughout the night.
The Next Steps
If you think you have nasal polyps, seek treatment as soon as possible. You may have underlying health concerns that need treatment, such as asthma, allergies, or infections. Additionally, untreated nasal polyps may continue growing. Very large nasal polyps can severely obstruct breathing and may require surgery. Early treatment can help you find relief and potentially prevent polyps from worsening.
- Nasal obstruction: diagnosis and management. Waltham, MA: UpToDate, 2020. (Accessed on December 15, 2020)
- Nasal polyps. Milwaukee, WI: American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. (Accessed on December 15, 2020)
- Nasal polyps. Washington, DC: MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. (Accessed on December 15, 2020)