Sinusitis is a prevalent condition in which the tissues lining the sinuses become swollen and inflamed, preventing mucus from draining. As this fluid builds up germs grow and cause an infection. Chronic sinusitis persists for eight weeks or longer, despite attempts to treat medically.
Causes & Symptoms
Chronic sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become infected. This can be the result of a number of conditions including colds, allergies, nasal polyps, deviated nasal septum, facial trauma, and a handful of other medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis, gastroesophageal reflux, and immune system disorders).
Symptoms are similar to those experienced with the common cold. The most common signs are nasal congestion or discharge; drainage down the back of the throat; pressure and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose and forehead; loss of smell and taste. Other symptoms may include ear pain, cough, sore throat, bad breath, pain in the upper jaw and teeth, fatigue and nausea.
Chronic sinusitis can lead to serious health complications such as asthma attacks, meningitis, vision problems, and aneurysms or blood clots.
Diagnosing & Treating Chronic Sinusitis
A thorough examination of your nasal passages is necessary in order to accurately diagnose sinusitis. Your doctor will carefully inspect your sinuses with a lighted instrument, and may rely on nasal endoscopy, CT scan, MRI, or allergy tests to confirm the diagnosis. At the same time, other conditions like nasal polyps can be ruled out.
How your chronic sinusitis is treated depends on the severity of your symptoms, as well as what is causing it. For immediate relief, try nasal decongestants; applying a warm, moist compress – such as a washcloth – to your face; flushing your sinuses with a Neti pot; using a humidifier; and staying hydrated by drinking lots of fluids.
While any of these remedies will help in the short term, you’ll want to find a solution that offers long-term relief. Nasal steroid sprays, antihistamines, oral steroids, and saline washes and sprays all provide effective relief safely for extended periods. If allergies are causing your symptoms, you’ll want to consider immunotherapy (allergy shots), which allow your body to build up a tolerance to the allergen. Nasal obstructions and deformities can be fixed through sinus surgery. Your doctor will know best which solution is most effective for you.