A nasal polyp or cyst is small, tear-shaped growth in the sinus cavity. Minor nasal polyps commonly go unnoticed because they don’t cause any symptoms. As they grow, they become more evident due to nasal obstruction and sinus pressure pain. Although anyone can develop a nasal cyst, they are more common in adults suffering from asthma, sinus infections or allergies, according to the Mayo Clinic. Children with cystic fibrosis are also more likely to develop nasal polyps.
Nasal cysts commonly cause inflammation and swelling in the sinus cavity, leading to sinus infections. Many symptoms of nasal cysts are the same as sinusitis, and include nasal discharge in the form of a runny nose or postnasal drip, chronic sinus congestion, nasal obstruction, loss of smell and taste, sinus pressure pain and snoring.
Although it is not clear why nasal polyps develop, they are believed to be caused by allergies and chronic sinus infections. The nasal lining has many small blood vessels that can develop into nasal polyps. Nasal cysts can develop anywhere in the sinus cavity, but are commonly seen near the opening of the sinuses.
According to the Mayo Clinic, preventing nasal cysts involves managing and treating asthma and allergies, avoiding irritants such as cigarette smoke, maintaining good hygiene, keeping a humidifier running in the home if the air is dry, and using saline as a nasal spray or sinus wash.
Mild cases of nasal polyps are treated with either a prescribed oral or nasal spray steroid, according to the National Library of Medicine. The steroid shrinks polyps until they are gone. In more severe cases, a doctor may recommend to surgically remove the cysts. After surgery, steroids can prevent the development of new nasal polyps.
Nasal cysts can cause chronic or reoccurring sinusitis. The nasal polyps can obstruct the nose, preventing proper drainage and air flow. This creates the perfect environment--warm and moist--for bacterial growth, which can lead to a sinus infection.
Nasal polyps may also cause sleep apnea, a condition where a person stops breathing for short periods of time during sleep. In rare and severe cases, nasal polyps can cause physical facial deformities such as the widening of the eyes or enlargement of the nose.