If you have a bump inside of your nose, it's probably not something serious. Most commonly, this bump is a nasal polyp, pimple or a boil -- or sometimes an insect bite. Infrequently, the bump leads to a serious infection, and rarely, the bump is cancerous. So if the bump doesn't go away within a few weeks, or if the swelling or pain is severe, see your doctor.
A bump inside the nose may be a nasal polyp, which is an abnormal growth on a mucous membrane -- such as the lining of the nostrils. These growths are related to inflammation, which is why they are more frequently seen in adults with asthma or allergies. Polyps may occur temporarily, during nasal or sinus infections, or they may be a permanent bump inside the nose. Nasal polyps can lead to a runny nose, congestion, postnasal drip, itching around the eyes, decreased sense of smell or taste, headache or snoring. Treatment options include shrinking the polyps with steroid drops, sprays or tablets, or surgical removal if steroid treatment is contraindicated or unsuccessful.
If the bump inside the nose is the form of a pimple, the cause may be folliculitis, which is an infection of a hair follicle -- which is the sac of cells and tissue from which hair grows. When folliculitis occurs inside the nose, the source is usually bacterial, but infections can also be caused by fungi, parasites or viruses. This infection can be triggered by a break in the skin, caused by dryness, nose picking or trauma, or may be caused by a blockage of the follicle. This bump is usually red and irritated, and may secrete pus. Most often these infections resolve on their own, although sometimes bacterial infections require treatment with antibiotic lotion, gel or tablets.
Sometimes nasal folliculitis spreads to the surrounding tissue and forms boils, also called nasal furuncles, which indicate a more serious infection. Furuncles are usually caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus, and typically require antibiotic treatment to prevent a more serious infection that may get into the blood. Rarely, a bump in the nose is a malignancy, although nasal and sinus tumors account for only 1 percent of all cancers.
Any bump in the nose that does not heal after 2 weeks should be evaluated by a doctor. Also, see your doctor to evaluate any persistent nasal symptoms, including congestion, runny nose or post-nasal drip, ongoing facial pain, swelling, fever, or recurrent or severe bleeding from the nose.
Reviewed by Kay Peck, MPH RD