Bromelain for Nasal Polyps: Personal Experience

A man suffering from allergies, in the middle of a field of goldenrod. SD art by Marcel Gagné
"Allergies", by Marcel Gagné, created with Stable Diffusion

If you don't know what I'm talking about here, consider yourself lucky and just move on. This isn't likely to be too interesting for you and it might just gross you out. If you do know about nasal polyps, or you know of someone who suffers with nasal polyps, you may want to hang around.

Nasal problems have always been a thing for me. I'm prone to allergies, including dust, pollen... the whole gamut of allergens. I've always accepted that the occasional stuffy nose is just par for the course. That's just life. I used to joke that I should have shares in the Reactine company.

The stuffy noses, however, had been getting more frequent. Then, it started getting bad. About four years ago, I went to my doctor complaining that my nose was permanently plugged. I was having trouble breathing and sleeping. I've always been a 'nose breather' at night, so breathing through my mouth made for chronically bad sleep. I finally caved when I noticed "things" inside of my nose (a polyp had descended into my outside nasal passage) and a lump pushing out from inside (ditto). After some amount of panic, and some bad Googling, I made an appointment with my doctor, who then referred me to an ENT specialist.

A CAT scan followed, and I was diagnosed with a serious case of nasal polyps. The left side of my sinuses was completely packed with the things. Yuck! The right side was a bit better, but not much. It was also blocked. I was put on a waiting list and finally booked for surgery. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and my surgery was put on hold. I was prescribed Nasonex, aka mometasone, to help with inflammation, but it didn't seem to be helping.

My surgery was postponed, then canceled (the polyps weren't life-threatening after all, just uncomfortable), rebooked, then postponed again. Months passed. I was suffering. I started scouring the Net for every conceivable study done on nasal polyps. Eventually, I ran across a small study which used Bromelain. Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples. It's what makes your tongue feel 'weird' if you eat a lot of fresh pineapple; the pineapple, you see, is basically digesting you. Isn't nature wonderful?

Anyhow, the study showed marked improvements in rhinosinusal tissue and a decrease in the size of polyps. Here's a link to the study I ran across.

Polyps are sometimes the result of chronic rhinosinusitis, so it stands to reason that, for those people whose polyps are caused by chronic rhinosinusitis, bromelain may be helpful in reducing the polyps. I was desperate, so I gave it a try.

I ordered a bottle of Bromelain supplements (usually used as a digestive aid) and I started taking a 500 mg tablet three times a day. Over the next week or two, the polyp that had descended in my left nostril had shrunk out of sight and the "lump" was gone. A week later, I started breathing through my right nostril for the first time in what seemed like forever. Another month or so later, I started taking small breaths through my left nostril. I was practically euphoric!

Eventually, the ENT called me back to say that they were able to do the operation. I told them that it was no longer an issue and I canceled everything having to do with the surgery. They asked why. I explained, but they sounded doubtful. To put it bluntly, I don't think they believed me. Nevertheless, I told them, I'm fine now. Thanks.

I recognize that nasal polyps are a chronic issue and that they do come back. Consequently, many months later, I still take Bromelain, though I typically only take one 500 mg capsule per day. Every other day or so, I will also take a puff of the Nasonex; I figure a little nip of corticosteroid here and there is probably not a bad thing to keep things at bay.

Needless to say, I am not a doctor, but I consider the addition of Bromelain to my daily routine a veritable life saver. Maybe I just got lucky and my body was miraculously healing my polyps on its own, but I'm going with "no" and "unlikely" on that one. The proof came when, this past spring, I basically forgot about my pineapple pills (okay, bromelain) for a few weeks. I wasn't feeling like I needed them, so I stopped taking them. Long story short, I slowly started feeling that old stuffy nose that won't clear up, so I went back to my old treatment. A few weeks later, everything was back to the new (and good) normal.

I've included the link that first got me on this crazy pineapple road. I invite you to go down your own rabbit hole and try it out for yourself if you are so inclined. From anything and everything I've read, Bromelain is well tolerated and basically harmless.

In my case, it has done wonders. The polyps are under control. I can breathe fine, and best of all, I'm not going that road of nasal surgery.

If you do try this for yourself, do let me know how it goes here in the comments, and feel free to share this with other sufferers. Good luck!