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The Link Between Nasal Polyps and Asthma

You have both nasal polyps and asthma, and since the two involve the same airways, you wonder whether the two conditions might be related in some way. The answer to this question is — more than likely.

To help you better understand the association between nasal polyps and asthma, Dr. Cecil Yeung and Dr. Marcus Hershey here at Houston Sinus Surgery are devoting this month’s blog to the subject.

Nasal polyps and asthma at a glance

Before we get into the potential connection between nasal polyps and asthma, we want to provide a brief description of each condition:

Nasal polyps

Nasal polyps are benign growths of tissue that develop inside your nasal passages and sinuses. In most cases, polyps are painless, but they can become problematic if they grow too large or numerous.


This chronic condition affects the airways of your lungs. When you have an asthma flare-up, these airways can narrow, making it difficult for you to get the oxygen you need. About 1 in 13 people in the United States has asthma, making it a fairly common condition.

A two-way connection

Since both nasal polyps and asthma affect your airways and create breathing issues, it makes sense that the two conditions might be related somehow, and there’s ample research backing this up. In fact, research has shown that there is likely a bi-drectional relationship between the existence of nasal polyps and asthma.

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at research that reviewed the association of asthma and chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), including CRS with nasal polyps. Chronic rhinosinusitis describes inflammation in the nasal passageways. The research showed that people with asthma have an increased risk of developing CRS. In fact, the research showed that 41-51% asthma patients in the United States also had CRS.

Diving deeper into the numbers, the research showed that the number of people with asthma and CRS with nasal polyps was considerably higher than those with asthma and CRS without nasal polyps. What this may tell us is that the chronic inflammation in the nasal passageways caused by asthma may lead to the development of nasal polyps.

Going in the other direction, the presence of nasal polyps often leads to chronic inflammation in the nasal passageways, which can aggravate asthma.

In other words, the existence of asthma and nasal polyps together is likely not a coincidence, and the conditions can worsen one another. Unfortunately, more research needs to be conducted to determine the exact mechanism behind this link.

Treating nasal polyps and asthma

If you have nasal polyps and asthma, our goal is to control both conditions so you can breathe easier. While asthma is chronic and there’s no cure, we offer highly effective treatments for controlling the problem through medications and management practices.

If nasal polyps develop and they exacerbate an asthma flare-up, we can take steps to minimize their impact through:

This last one — polypectomy — is a surgical procedure that we perform to remove problematic nasal polyps. Dr. Yeung and Dr. Hershey use only the most advanced techniques available, including functional endoscopic sinus surgery. This minimally invasive surgery effectively removes your nasal polyps to improve airflow through your airways.

If you have both nasal polyps and asthma, we urge you to come see us so we can address both issues for better overall breathing. To get started, call 713-795-4886 or book an appointment online with Houston Sinus Surgery today.

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